Brisbane Roar head to Newcastle for tomorrow night’s Round 16 clash confident of toppling the second-placed Jets.
The Roar were unable to take points from two home clashes in quick succession last weekend but will welcome back six players to the 18-man squad to face the Jets.
Captain Matt McKay is one of that cohort and says his side are up for the fight.
“It’s been a difficult period for the club but I’m delighted to be back. We get Avram [Papadopoulos] and a few more boys back on deck too,” McKay said.
“We have to be a bit more confident in ourselves and just believe. We have the players to do it, we’re a club that has shown we can fight and we’ll continue to do that.
“The last few games have been tough, but the spirit is still there from the boys. We’re looking forward to getting down to Newcastle and playing against a side who have been doing well.”
Central defender Avram Papadopoulos is in line for his first Hyundai A-League appearance of 2018 after returning from suspension, as is triple-Championship winner Ivan Franjic who has overcome a quad injury.
Young trio Connor O’Toole, Shannon Brady and Adam Sawyer have also been included in the squad to travel south.
The squad’s ambitions for the final 12 rounds of the season were questioned by Head Coach John Aloisi this week – who says the response was clear.
“I asked the players yesterday what they want out of this season – they believe we can make finals and they want to qualify for the Asian Champions League,” Aloisi said.
The Roar will be looking to climb to within reach of the top six tomorrow night against one of the most potent sides in the league.
“You have to take the game to them and be very careful because they’re dangerous on the counter-attack. They’ve got speed up front and move the ball forward very quickly,” Aloisi said.
“We know that it will be tough, but we’re looking forward to the challenge because we feel, with the players coming back in, that we can win the game.”
Hyundai A-League Round 16: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
McDonald Jones Stadium
Friday, 12 January (6:50pm KO)
Newcastle Jets Squad: 1.Jack DUNCAN (Gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Patricio RODRIGUEZ, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glen MOSS (Gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY **one to be omitted**
Ins: 19.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted), 32.Angus THURGATE (promoted)
Outs: 24.Joseph CHAMPNESS (international duty)
Unavailable: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (back – 1 week), 8.Ronald VARGAS (ankle – indefinite), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (groin – 7 weeks), 14.Riley MCGREE (international duty), 16.Nick COWBURN (international duty)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 2.Dane INGHAM, 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Massimo MACCARONE, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 17.Matt MCKAY(c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Eric BAUTHEAC, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 27.Adam SAWYER, 31.Brendan WHITE (gk), 36.Daniel LECK, 77.Ivan FRANJIC**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS (returns from suspension), 17.Matt MCKAY (returns from suspension), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (promoted) 27.Adam SAWYER (promoted), 77.Ivan FRANJIC (returns from injury)
Outs: 4.Daniel BOWLES (not selected), 16.Mitchell OXBORROW (general soreness – 1 week), 25.Rahmat AKBARI (not selected), 33.Petros SKAPETIS (not selected)
Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (finger – 2 weeks), 10.Brett HOLMAN (calf – 1 week), 11.Corey GAMEIRO (groin – 1 week), 13.Jade NORTH (groin – TBC), 18.Joe CALETTI (foot – 10 weeks), 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (ankle – 1 week)
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham
Video Assistant Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live
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