Preview: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory gets the ideal opportunity here to get its Hyundai A-League season back on track, following recent away losses to Wellington and Perth.

Date: Friday December 19 Kick-off: 8pm (AEDT) Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle

TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is 1233 ABC Newcastle and SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM. To purchase tickets visit

Head-to-head All matches (played 11): Newcastle Jets wins 6, Melbourne Victory wins 3 (2 draws). In Newcastle (played 4): Newcastle Jets wins 2, Melbourne Victory wins 1 (1 draw).

Previous meeting Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Round 8, 2008/09

Past five rounds Newcastle: Round 11: Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets 2, Members' Equity Stadium Round 12: Wellington 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium Round 13: Newcastle Jets 1, Adelaide United 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 14: Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney FC 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 15: Queensland Roar 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium

Melbourne: Round 11: Queensland Roar 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 12: Melbourne Victory 2, Central Coast 1, Telstra Dome Round 13: Wellington 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 14: Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, Members' Equity Stadium Round 15: Did not play - home game against Adelaide rescheduled to January 6


Melbourne Victory gets the ideal opportunity here to get its Hyundai A-League season back on track, following recent away losses to Wellington and Perth.

Not only is Melbourne coming off a much-needed break - following the re-scheduling of last week's home match against Adelaide until January 6 - but it is coming up against a side that has not won in its past seven matches.

And unlike Melbourne, Newcastle did play last week meaning the Victory should have a freshness advantage over the Jets.

Melbourne also has a full squad to choose from with Evan Berger back from a hamstring injury and Costa Rican international Carlos Hernandez again ready to start after being used as a substitute recently following his quad injury.

However there are still concerns over star striker Archie Thompson, a late withdrawal against Perth a fortnight ago due to knee soreness, although Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is hopeful Thompson - who trained strongly on Thursday - will be fit to take his place in the line-up.

Merrick has promised to take an all-out attacking approach into this game with no defenders to be named on the bench - instead just midfielders and strikers - knowing Melbourne needs the three points to remain in the top two after Queensland drew level with Melbourne on points in the race for second spot last weekend.

But while anything less than a win here against a struggling Jets side will be a disappointment, Melbourne will need little reminding that Newcastle's last win came against Victory on Melbourne's last trip to Newcastle back in Round 8.

However with a full squad available, the team refreshed from last weekend's break and with the Jets all but out of finals contention, it would be a major shock if Melbourne did not bounce back to form this week.

Melbourne Victory Squad: 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD. *One to be omitted.

In. Evan BERGER (return from injury). Out. Nil. Unavailable. Nil.

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Adam GRIFFITHS, 3.Jade NORTH (c), 7.Kaz PATAFTA, 8.Matt THOMPSON, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Jin-Hyung SONG, 11.Tarek ELRICH, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 14.Shaun ONTONG, 16.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 24.Marko JESIC, 26.Mark MILLIGAN, 27.Sean ROONEY, 30.Justin PASFIELD (gk).

In. 7.Kaz Patafta (promoted), 10.Jin-Hyung Song (returns from injury). Out. 12. Jobe Wheelhouse (suspended), 5.James Holland. Unavailable: 15. Jason Hoffman (knee - season), 18. Noel Spencer (ankle - indefinite), 20. Ben Kennedy (ankle - 6 weeks).

Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.