MX23RW : Monday, March 23 09:04:18| >> :120:81301:81301:
Mar 20, 2020 at 8.30am UK at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane RoarBrisbane Roar
Newcastle JetsNewcastle Jets
McDonald (16')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Newcastle Jets - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's A-League clash between Robbie Fowler's Brisbane Roar and a resurgent Newcastle Jets, including prediction, team news and possible lineups.

Brisbane Roar welcome Newcastle Jets to the Cbus Super Stadium on Friday hoping to keep their hopes of a top-two finish in the A-League alive.

Robbie Fowler's side currently sit in fourth place, five points adrift of the automatic Finals qualification spots, whereas Newcastle are ninth in the standings.

Match preview

Robbie Fowler pictured in March 2019© Reuters

Liverpool legend Fowler is approaching the one-year anniversary of his appointment at Brisbane Roar, and he will be pleased with how things have gone for him on the Gold Coast so far.

The Roar go into Friday's match well on course to qualify for the end-of-season Finals tournament, sitting five points clear of Adelaide United in seventh and five points adrift of second-placed Melbourne City.

While it would take a significant swing for them to overhaul the Melbourne outfit and qualify for the Finals automatically, a top-six finish does look likely, which would be a satisfactory result considering they finished second-from-bottom last season.

Victory on Friday would take Brisbane to within one point of doubling their tally from last term already, so they are certainly on the right track under Fowler, even if their goalscoring exploits have not been as impressive as those of the man in charge.

The Roar have scored just 24 goals in 21 games this season - only rock-bottom Central Coast Mariners have netted fewer - while they have also conceded 24 goals to leave them with the second-worst defence in the top five.

Nonetheless, their only defeats so far this calendar year have been away to the league's top two sides, winning seven of 11 since the beginning of January - as many wins as they had managed in their previous 40 A-League games before that stretching back to March 2018.

Should they beat Newcastle then it would be the first time they have won three successive A-League matches since November 2016, and they will take great confidence from their form at home, where they are unbeaten in 2020 and have taken 14 points from the last 18 available.

Those are worrying numbers for a Newcastle side with only one away win since November, although that did come in their last outing as a shock 3-0 triumph over Adelaide United ended a torrid run of form which had seen them take only one point from their previous six games on the road.

Indeed, the Jets' overall form has greatly improved since the arrival of manager Carl Robinson last month and they travel to Brisbane on a five-game unbeaten streak under the new boss, having failed to win any of their nine matches before that.

Newcastle have taken 11 points from a possible 15 under Robinson, having accrued two from the 27 on offer prior to his arrival.

The resurgence is likely to have come too late to salvage their season with six points separating them from the top six, but a positive end to the campaign should at least raise hope that next term will be better.

It certainly would not be out of character for Newcastle to bounce back having finished as high as second and as low as bottom of the table in the last four seasons alone, and planning will already be underway to ensure that 2020-21 is one of their high points.

Brisbane Roar A-League form: WWDLWW

Newcastle Jets A-League form: DWDDWW

Team News

Carl Robinson pictured in 2017© Reuters

Connor O'Toole and Roy O'Donovan could both face their former club for the first time since leaving Brisbane for Newcastle in January.

O'Donovan is still the Roar's leading scorer this season, while he has been in fine form since rejoining the Jets too and goes into the game having scored in each of his last three outings.

That tally puts the Irishman already just two goals behind Newcastle's top scorer Dimitri Petratos, who is on five for the campaign.

Wales international Joe Ledley made his debut for the Jets last time out and may be pushing for a start this time around, while Wes Hoolahan is another familiar name to Premier League fans.

Brisbane Roar possible starting lineup:
Young; Neville, Aldred, Gillesphey; Hingert, O'Neill, O'Shea, Brown; McDonald, Muratovic, Inman

Newcastle Jets possible starting lineup:
Italiano; Koutroumbis, Boogaard, Topor-Stanley; Millar, Thurgate, Ugarkovic, Burns; Petratos; Hoolahan, O'Donovan

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We say: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Newcastle Jets

The league table suggests a home win in this match, but Newcastle Jets looks like a different team under Carl Robinson and have also poached Brisbane's main goal-getter. It is an intriguing showdown between two teams in fine form, and we can see them cancelling each other out.


Who will win Friday's A-League clash between Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets?

Brisbane Roar
Newcastle Jets
Brisbane Roar
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Joe Ledley in Wales training in late 2017
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