Sunday’s Hyundai A-League clash with Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium will see midfielder Jacob Pepper return to his hometown for the first time since signing for the Roar.
The pre-season recruit played his first competitive minutes in the Roar orange against the Victory last Friday night (October 7), coming on as a substitute during the second half.
The 24-year-old is expected to be elevated to the starting side in place of suspended captain Matt McKay, and he’s excited about the opportunity to play in front of family and friends.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Newcastle. I haven’t played in front of my family for a while now so I’m excited for tomorrow’s game,” Pepper said.
“We’ve had a long turnaround so all the boys are fresh and we’re jumping out of our skin to play and hopefully get the three points.
“We’ve got a game plan and structures that we play no matter who’s in the side and that’s what I’ll try and instill in my game on Sunday.”
His influence off the bench in the season opener was noted by Head Coach John Aloisi who is backing the 24-year-old to showcase his talent on his return to Newcastle.
“He’s been doing really well during pre-season and when he came on last week against the Victory he did really well too,” Aloisi said.
“We have a lot of confidence in him and I’m sure that against his hometown club he’ll put in a good performance.
Sunday’s game is the Roar’s first away trip for the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season. Performing strongly away from home continues to be the main focus for the Roar side.
Head Coach John Aloisi believes results away from home will come if the side continue putting in strong, consistent performances.
“We know we need to pick up more points away from home but in terms of the way we play, we played well, the focus is to turn those performances into the results that we want,” Aloisi said.
“It’s going to be tough, Newcastle showed last week that they’re a good side and we have to perform at our best to get the result we want.”
Temperatures are expected to remain close to 30⁰C at McDonald Jones Stadium around kick-off (4pm QLD time) which Aloisi believes will suit the Roar’s game plan.
“It’s going to be hot in Newcastle and we’re prepared and fit enough for that weather so we’ll try and play our high tempo game like we normally do,” he said.
“We’re a fit team and we showed that last week that even with 10-men, we ran out the game well and scored right at the end.”
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar FC
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (4:00PM QLD time)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH (pictured above), 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN, 37.Mark RODIC **two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (promoted), 37.Mark RODIC (promoted)
Outs: 17.Matt MCKAY (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (ankle – 1 week), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (International duty – 3 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Labinot HALITI, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Mitch COOPER, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nick COWBURN, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk)
Ins: 8.Mateo POLJAK (returns from injury), 14.Mitch COOPER (promoted), 19.Morten NORDSTRAND (returns from injury)
Outs: 2.Daniel MULLEN (knee – indefinite), 3.Jason HOFFMAN (calf – 1-2 weeks), 9.Aleksandr KOKKO (achilles – 1-2 weeks)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (achilles – season), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)
Referee: Peter Green; Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields; Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson; Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4:00PM (Qld time) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, 612 ABC Brisbane, ABC Local Radio Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live., Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), SEN Radio, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)
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