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A-League Round 14 preview

By AAP .
10 January 2014 04:18PM EST

PREVIEW of A-League Round 14 matches (all times AEDT):

FRIDAY, January 10

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium 7.30pm

Head to Head: Jets 12 Victory 9 drawn 4

Last clash: Round 9 2013-2014 - Jets 2 bt Victory 1 at AAMI Park

Tab Sportsbet: Jets $2.75 Victory $2.40 Draw $3.30

A potentially season-shaping fixture between the sixth-placed Jets, on 18 points, and the fourth-placed Victory, on 19 points. Newcastle have lost two in a row, but haven't lost three consecutive A-League games since December 2012. And the Jets have a great record against the Victory: they have lost just one of their past nine home games against them, and also scored a 2-1 win on Victory's home turf in round nine.

Key: Newcastle marksman Adam Taggart has scored six times this season and looms as an attacking danger who must be quelled if Victory are to prevail on the road.

Tip: Jets

Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart at nib Stadium 9.45pm

Head to Head: Glory 4 Heart 3 drawn 3

Last clash: Round 3 2013-2014 - Glory 1 bt Heart 0 at nib Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Glory $2.00 Heart $3.50 Draw $3.35

Melbourne Heart could equal an unwanted record if they fail to secure victory - it would take their winless run to 19 games, equalling the mark set by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights in 2005/06. The Glory are aiming for two wins on the trot following last week's lucky 1-0 triumph over Newcastle. Star Glory striker Shane Smeltz will return from an ankle injury off the bench but former French international William Gallas will miss a seventh straight game due to a calf injury.

Key: Both sides are still finding their feet following the sacking of Glory coach Alistair Edwards and Heart counterpart John Aloisi. If the Heart start capitalising on their chances in front of goals, their winless run will end - but confidence is hard to find, especially on enemy territory.

Tip: Glory

SATURDAY, January 11

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium 5.30pm

Head to Head: Roar 10 AdUtd 9 drawn 8

Last clash: Round 9 2013-2014 - Roar 2 bt AdUtd 1 at Coopers Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Roar $1.40 AdUtd $7.50 Draw $4.20

Adelaide United's depth is severely stretched, with Bruce Djite (groin), Cirio (hamstring), Osama Malik (suspension), Jake Barker-Daish (Australian under 22 duties) all missing from last week's side. But the Reds, in eighth spot with 14 points, have a surprisingly good record in Brisbane, where they have lost just two of their past dozen games. But is anyone game to tip against the Roar after their stunning dismissals of Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC in their past two matches?

Key: Adelaide signed renowned goal-scorer Ryan Griffiths midweek to try and cover their personnel losses in attack, but may find chances hard to come by against the relentless Roar.

Tip: Roar

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC at Pirtek Stadium 7.45pm

Head to Head: Western Sydney 2 SydFC 1 drawn 1

Last clash: Round 3 2013-2014 - Western Sydney 2 bt SydFC 0 at Allianz Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Western Sydney $1.53 SydFC $6.00 Draw $3.75

The second-placed Wanderers are just four points ahead of the fifth-placed Sky Blues, but enter this match as firm favourites. Much attention has centred on off-field fan behaviour, but on the field the result could be tighter than the bookies reckon. The Wanderers have scored in their past 12 home games but are yet to down their arch rival on home turf - though Sydney FC have won just one of their past 15 away games.

Key: Do the fortunes of the Sky Blues ever not hinge on their talisman, Alessandro Del Piero, who will need to produce a moment or two of magic for his team to triumph.

Tip: Western Sydney

SUNDAY, January 12

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium 5.00pm

Head to Head: Phoenix 5 Mariners 11 drawn 3

Last clash: Round 11 2013-2014 - Mariners 1 bt Phoenix 0 at North Sydney Oval

Tab Sportsbet: Phoenix $2.25 Mariners $3.00 Draw $3.30

Wellington have won three in a row, their longest victorious stretch since banking four consecutive wins in February 2012. And the Mariners have lost two successive away games - but they haven't dropped three in a row on the road since 2006. Yet it's still hard to see the Phoenix accounting for Central Coast's all-round class in Wellington, where the Mariners are unbeaten in five visits.

Key: Wellington's Stijn Huysegems is in a rich vein of form. He has scored in each of his club's three wins on the trot and is the man who looms as the game-breaker.

Tip: Mariners

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