Jets happy to face desperate Glory in AL
Posted on 12/17/18 5:04 PM
Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick is welcoming the opportunity to take on a desperate Perth Glory.Playing a desperate Perth Glory is the perfect A-League finals preparation for the high-flying but suddenly out-of-form Newcastle Jets, according to their coach Ernie Merrick.
After thrilling A-League fans for most of the season with their attacking approach, second-placed Newcastle have stumbled over the past couple of rounds.
They were thrashed 5-2 at Adelaide and last Sunday lost 3-0 at home to Melbourne City, failing to score for the first time this season.
“That’s the benefit having a short turnaround. They are really keen to get back out on the park and prove they can score goals,” Merrick said,
“Quite a few players played well below their best and I’m looking for a big increase in that this week..”
Perth, who are undefeated in their past nine visits to McDonald Jones Stadium, must win to maintain a realistic shot at making the finals.
“We want to play teams that are desperate to beat us and that to me is the best preparation you can have for finals,” Merrick said.
Eighth-placed Glory (29 points) are involved in a three-way scrap for sixth spot with Western Sydney (7th, 30) and Brisbane Roar (6th 32), who clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, though Perth have the worst goal difference of the three clubs.
If the Roar win and Perth don’t, the Glory’s finals aspirations will be extinguished.
Perth host Brisbane in the last round, so they would be happy to see the Roar held to a draw by the Wanderers.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe was bullish about his teams prospects citing their recent form, which included home wins over the two finals-bound Melbourne clubs.
‘We should be confident going to Newcastle to win the game,” Lowe said.
“It will be a a tough game but it’s something that we’re capable of.
“They are a good team, Newcastle, we’ve just got to focus on us.”
The previous games between the two clubs this season each featured late drama.
Former Jet Adam Taggart netted a stoppage time equaliser to earn Glory a 2-2 away draw, and Newcastle scored in the 88th minute and stoppage time to win 2-1 in Perth.
Lowe will consider starting Taggart this week, while for Newcastle, Daniel Georgievski is suspended, but Jason Hoffman is available again after his ban.
Stats that matter
* Perth Glory are undefeated in their last nine visits to McDonald Jonbes Stadium, but the Jets are undefeated in the past three seasons when playing at home on a Friday
* Perth Glory are winless in their past six games on the road (D1, L5), conceding 17 goals across this run
* Perth’s Adam Taggart has scored four goals in his five previous games against his former club.
Stats supplied by Opta.