Preview: Three points up for grabs against City


Fresh (or not so) from a gruelling 120 minutes in the AFC Champions League this Tuesday gone, the turnaround for the Jets is an extremely short one.

Less than 72 hours after the full-time whistle earlier in the week, on Friday night the boys will take on Melbourne City in the Hyundai A-League.

The boys are in good form at the minute, with just the one loss in their last five outings.

Wins over the Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Persija Jakarta have been mixed in with a loss to the table-topping Perth Glory and a draw with Wellington Phoenix.

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That draw with Wellington ensured that the gap between us in seventh, and sixth, remains at eight points.

With Melbourne City one point further away, it’s unlikely but still possible that a Jets win on Friday night could be the first step in a swap in the top six.

The one big talking point this weekend is the rotation though – Ernie Merrick has made a whopping 14 combined ins and outs from last Thursday’s squad which drew with the Phoenix.

Melbourne City

Our opponents, City, come into this match without a win in their last three outings.

They drew 1-1 with Adelaide United last Saturday, which was preceded by defeats with Sydney and Wellington.

Team news

All the talk in the lead-up to this clash has been around the mass changes made by the boss.

From the side which beat Persija on Tuesday night, six of the starting XI won’t be in the squad to face City.

Dimi and Ronny, along with Ben Kantarovski, Glen Moss, Nigel Boogaard, and Daniel Georgievski are the big outs, but there’s youth to come in.

Noah James will likely deputise for Lewis Italiano, while Angus Thurgate looks set to see serious minutes and Pat Langlois could line up for his first ever Hyundai A-League appearance.

Jason Hoffman will miss out, with the news today that he’s set to spend an extended period sidelined with an ankle injury.

Noah James

From the assistant

“Hoffy is a big loss, he gives us a really good physical capacity in wide areas, he’s versatile, and coming into the backend of the season it’s not ideal to lose a player of such stature,” Clayton Zane said.

“We’ve got good cover in all areas though, so I think it’s a case of one door closes and another opens for someone else.

“There’ll be some changes, we need to nurse a few players with this run of games we’ve got. The players coming in, like Ivan [Vujica] and Jake [Adelson] have the capacity to get up and down the line.

“Some of the guys that played on Tuesday night, Nikolai, Johnny, and Stevey Ugarkovic, are some of our best in a physical sense so there’ll definitely be a few that will back up.

“Joey has completed a week of training with sports science, he got through everything and almost looked to the point of being match ready. We have to be careful… he’s one that we don’t want to push too early.”