Newcastle can end Adelaide's hopes
The Newcastle Jets could end slumping Adelaide United's finals chances with victory on Friday in the A-League clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
If Sydney FC beat Wellington Phoenix in the early match Friday, the Reds need to avoid defeat to stay in the hunt for a third straight playoff campaign.
"If we win the game it will be very, very difficult for Adelaide to make up those points in two games," Jets coach Garry van Egmond said.
"And it is all in our own hands, we sit in the box seat, we're two points in front."
Both clubs have qualified for the finals in the opening two years of the A-League, although one is almost certain to miss out this time, with Newcastle currently fourth with 25 points, one spot ahead of Adelaide (23).
"They're (Adelaide) not going to be wanting to be the first team that doesn't make the final series," van Egmond said.
"We are in exactly the same boat.
"We don't want to be the team that doesn't make the finals series for the first time as far as the Newcastle outfit goes."
Newcastle were the best-represented club in new Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek's first squad named Wednesday, with Ante Covic, Andrew Durante, Joel and Adam Griffiths, Jade North and Matt Thompson all getting the nod.
Mark Bridge and Stuart Musialik were also included in the Under-23 training squad ahead of the opening World Cup qualifier next month against Qatar.
Both sides lost last weekend at home with Newcastle upset 3-2 by Wellington, while the Reds went down 3-1 to Sydney before a capacity crowd at Adelaide Oval.
Out this week for Newcastle are midfielder Denni with an injured hamstring and Steve Eagleton with a leg injury.
Joel Griffiths, current joint-top goal scorer in the A-League, returns from suspension to spearhead the Jets attack.
"I've got the re-charged batteries so to speak," Griffiths said.
"I can't wait for the game against Adelaide."
Adelaide's injury woes continues with midfielder Kristian Sarkies and forward Dez Giraldi unavailable for the match.
Sarkies, 21, will be sidelined for at least two months after being hospitalised with a blood clot in his arm.
Giraldi suffered heart palpitations and was a late withdrawal from Adelaide's lineup which lost to Sydney last Friday.
The Reds will also be without defenders Robert Cornthwaite and Cassio against Newcastle as both serve one-match suspensions.