Preview: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory

Newcastle is not Melbourne's favourite hunting ground - just one win in four matches - but there is a lot to like about the Victory this weekend.

Date: Saturday October 18 Kick-off: 7:00pm AEST Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium

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.

Head-to-head Nine A-League meetings: Newcastle Jets - 5 wins, Melbourne Victory - 2 wins, - Draws - 2

Previous meeting Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets, Round 3, 2008

Past five rounds Melbourne: Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Melbourne Victory 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome

Newcastle: Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Newcastle Jets 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium. Round 5: Queensland Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Analysis

Newcastle is not Melbourne's favourite hunting ground - just one win in four matches - but there is a lot to like about the Victory this weekend.

The Victory, coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Perth in their last outing prior to the international break, welcome back key trio in number one goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, defender Michael Thwaite and playmaker Carlos Hernandez.

And although Ney Fabiano remains suspended, the Victory is just about at full strength following Grant Brebner's recent impressive return from injury.

The Victory have had a big week off the field in the lead-up to this game following the re-signing of veteran defender Rody Vargas, promising back-up keeper Mitch Langerak and pocket dynamo Evan Berger, who has been so impressive this season in what has been his first full Hyundai A-League season.

And in Archie Thompson and Danny Allsopp, the Victory still has the most potent strike pairing in the competition and against a Newcastle defence that looked shaky at home in their last meeting against lowly Wellington, this two loom as a major threat.

Newcastle will be boosted by the return of Adam and Joel Griffiths from injury as well as the talented James Holland from Young Socceroos duties but have already been beaten once this season by Melbourne 5-0 as recently as Round 3 and while it will be tougher for the Victory on away soil, expect another three points to come the way of Ernie Merrick's team on Saturday as they cement their hold on top spot of the ladder.

Newcastle Jets Squad: 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 5. James HOLLAND, 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 7. Kaz PATAFTA, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23. Edmundo ZURA, 24. Marko JESIC, 25. Daniel PIORKOWSKI. * two to be omitted

In. 5. James Holland (returns from Qantas Young Socceroos duties), 2. Adam Griffiths (returns from injury), 9. Joel Griffiths (returns from injury), 16. Ben Kantarovski (returns from Qantas Joeys duties). Out. 18. Noel Spencer, Antun Kovacic. Unavailable. 14. Shaun Ontong (ankle - indefinite), 15. Jason Hoffman (knee - season).

Melbourne Victory Squad. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18. Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22. Nick WARD. * one to be omitted

In. Michael THEOKLITOS, Carlos HERNANDEZ, Michael THWAITE. Out..Lou ACEVSKI (loan completed), Steven PACE Unavailable. Ney FABIANO (suspended)

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.