Newcastle Jets play their first match since sacking coach Ernie Merrick when they take on Sydney FC to launch A-League Round 14 action on Friday night.
Jets vs Sydney kicks off at 7.30pm AEDT at McDonald Jones Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports in Australia.
It’s been a nightmare season for the Jets and it got worse last week, with Merrick given his marching orders after the side were demolished 4-0 by Melbourne Victory.
Newcastle have conceded four or more goals in three of their last four games and have sunk to bottom spot on the ladder, leaving the club with no real choice than to sack the man who guided them to a Grand Final two seasons ago.
While things look dire in the Hunter, the nature of the A-League means they are not out of finals contention if they can somehow string some wins together. Newcastle are only six points adrift of the top six, but they desperately need to tighten up their defence and welcome injured attackers Abdiel Arroyo and Wes Hoolahan back on the paddock, both of whom have spent lengthy injury spells on the sidelines.
With the competition leaders coming to town on Friday night, it certainly doesn’t get any easier.
Sydney FC are putting together another dominant season, coming into this fixture with a nine-point lead at the top of the table.
The reigning premiers appear set for another successful season, producing a 2-1 win over Adelaide United in their last outing. With the Jets in shambles, Sydney will view this clash as an opportunity to put on a big scoreline.
Sydney have won 14 of their last 19 A-League games against Newcastle, but the Jets are unbeaten in their last three home games. Sometimes teams that sack their coach bounce back strongly in their next game, but I don’t see it happening here. Sydney to potentially embarrass Newcastle.
Sydney FC – $1.91
Newcastle Jets – $4.00
Draw – $3.75
– Sydney won 14 of their last 19 meetings
– Jets unbeaten at home vs Sydney in last three games
– Adam Le Fondre has scored 10 first-half goals this season