Topor-Stanley ruled out

Newcastle have been dealt a blow with key defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley ruled out of Saturday’s Hyundai A-League fixture against the Glory in Perth.

Newcastle have been dealt a blow with key defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley ruled out of Saturday’s A-League fixture against the Glory in Perth.

Topor-Stanley has been sidelined as a precaution after suffering a hamstring strain at training this week. Newcastle junior Taylor Regan comes into the squad, with midfielder Ben Kantarovski likely to move into the defence and Jobe Wheelhouse promoted to the starting line-up in the midfield.

Tarek Elrich, who is nearing peak fitness after off-season groin surgery, could be the only other change to the team that drew 1-1 with the Melbourne Heart last start. Elrich is set to replace Ruben Zadkovich at right back.

Jets vice-captain Ljubo Milicevic negated the loss of Topor-Stanley, saying he had confidence in the whole Newcastle squad to do the job.

“It is not just me and Nikolai and Kasey, it is the whole team and our whole structure,” he said.

“The system we have got is great going forward and it is great defensively. But obviously Nikolai and I have lifted a bit again and our understanding is getting better. But it is important to realise that attacking and defending is a team game and I would never single out for criticism or praise.”

“You can see already this year that we are working together a lot better as a team and that is why we are keeping clean sheets and opening teams up and dominating. I think at the moment we have a lot of self-belief in the way we are playing.”

Jets head coach Branko Culina added he was looking forward to Saturday’s match and said it would be a good yard-stick to assess how the Newcastle side is faring so far this season.

“I think Perth will be a good guide for us. The reasons being I expect Perth Glory to be one of the teams to beat because of the quality and depth they have at their disposal,” Culina said.

“For us to go to Perth and get a result will be a tremendous boost and it will be a fair indication of what we can expect for the rest of the year. That is why, I as a coach, and the payers as well, are really looking forward to this game on Saturday afternoon.”

Culina said he believed the Glory will adopt different tactics to their ‘attack on the counter’ style that took them to a 2-0 win over the Victory in Melbourne last week.

“I think when teams play at home it is only natural that they try to play differently,” he said.

“In Melbourne last week they tried to play on the counter attack, but at home I would be surprised if they did that, but if they do that shows they have a hell a lot of respect for us and if they do that we will be happy as well.”