Newcastle should expect a 'different ball game' in Melbourne - Kevin Muscat
The barnstorming Newcastle Jets fly south to take on Melbourne Victory on Friday night, but Kevin Muscat says their clash will be all about whether the A-League sensations can stop the home side.
Three wins in their last four matches -- including a last-out last-gasp derby success -- has Victory back in their groove.
That's the same record as Ernie Merrick's side over the last month, making their AAMI Park match a mouth-watering proposition.
Despite the Jets' record this season, which includes a 4-1 home defeat of Victory, and a 10-point buffer over the Melburnians, Muscat said the match would be played on his terms.
"It will be more about our execution and how we go about things and making them stop us," Muscat said.
"The last week, that first half, the way we came out of the blocks and the way we started was outstanding. And the week before in Brisbane.
"It's a different ball game now them coming to Melbourne and playing us here."
Muscat has discounted their earlier season meeting ahead of their first home game at AAMI Park this season, saying it will have "no relevance" to the contest.
A clash between ex-Victory defender Daniel Georgievski and his title-winning captain Mark Milligan led to the Socceroo's send-off and the Jets' three-goal win.
That loss might have been the nadir of Victory's early-season woes.
Fan protests and calls for changes reverberated around the club after the round eight loss, but Muscat held the line.
"When things aren't going well, it's human nature to want to change everything," he said.
"Whether it's people or formations or structures. The harder thing to do is analyse where you can do better. That's the approach we had."
Leigh Broxham will miss the match as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain.
The match is likely to arrive too soon for Georgievski to feature against his old side, given the 29-year-old injured his knee in the reverse fixture.
But Nick Cowburn will return for the Jets after his own recovery from a knee injury, and should be named on the bench.
STATS THAT MATTER
- After a stint at Etihad, Victory play their first home game of the season at AAMI Park, where they've won their last three games there 1-0.
- Newcastle haven't kept a clean sheet in 23 straight games on the road - though they have won four of their last five away trips.
- Jets pair Andrew Nabbout and Dimitri Petratos are the only players in the league to have scored and assisted five goals.