McDonald Jones Stadium plays host to back-to-back A-Leagues fixtures as the February Football Feast continues on Tuesday evening.
In the Liberty A-League its Newcastle Jets welcoming reigning champions Melbourne Victory to the Hunter, a side bolstered by the return of Matildas duo Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin.
Victory boss Jeff Hopkins says his two young stars are determined to get back into the rhythm of Liberty A-League football as his side gun for their second win on a run of three games in seven days.
“I think everyone was expecting Kyra especially to be involved (at the Asian Cup) a bit more,” Hopkins said.
“She’s been disappointed obviously for the team but also for herself.
“We’ve had a chat and she’s keen to get back playing and she needs to be the best player in our team but also the league.
“The same applies for Courtney. They both came to me and said they wanted to get back playing (straight away).”
Hopkins added: “What we’ve seen is now we have an opportunity to grab nine points in a week,” he said.
“That would be vital for us right now. We’ve played Wellington, play Newcastle and then have a game against Western Sydney.
“It’s a tough schedule but it’s somewhere we can get a lot of points in a short period of time.
“It will be physically demanding and we’ll have to have a bit of sacrifice during this period, but in one week’s time we could control our place in that second or third place and put a nice comfortable gap between ourselves and sixth place.”
LIBERTY A-LEAGUE: NEWCASTLE JETS V MELBOURNE VICTORY
As the Liberty A-League action concludes on Tuesday evening, the Jets men’s side will then play host to Melbourne City in a crunch Isuzu UTE A-League matchup set to determine whether the Jets can keep the pace with the top six.
Arthur Papas’ side are playing catchup at this stage in the season, having played four games fewer than some sides in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
It’s led to a stockpile of fixtures for the Jets to burn through in the coming weeks – a situation made all the more complex by the postponement of their Wednesday-night matchup against Perth due to COVID cases, and the scheduling of tonight’s City clash 24 hours earlier than anticipated.
The Jets emerged from a 42-day break between games to lose 2-1 to Adelaide United on January 30, before a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Thursday, February 3 put the Jets on eight points – five less than City who occupy sixth spot with two games in hand over Papas’ side.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s City will hope to call on the services of Socceroos quartet Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe, Marco Tilio and Mathew Leckie after their telling absence in a 1-0 loss to Western United last time out.