Newcastle's young defence will hope to thwart a misfiring Melbourne City attack and pile more pressure on the travel-weary reigning A-League Men premiers.
Young Jets central defenders Mark Natta and Phillip Cancar will be entrusted with stopping all-time ALM leading goal scorer Jamie Maclaren in Sunday's clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"We have a very young backline. I'm trying to take on a more senior role in the back, and lead them," Natta said.
"I'm very fortunate to have played as many games as I have at my age.
"Being in a more responsible role at the back is something I want to do and (am) happy to do."
Newcastle (one win, two draws, two losses) have the upper hand over City (1-1-3), who are in the final leg of a travel-heavy nine days.
Aurelio Vidmar's charges lost 1-0 to Wellington last Sunday, then let three points slip, despite finding their scoring boots, in a midweek 3-3 draw with Japanese club Ventforet Kofu.
The Jets will also hope the return of playmaker Reno Piscopo can help spark a win after a disappointing derby loss to Central Coast, which coach Rob Stanton partly attributed to an overly-heavy training week.
Piscopo missed the opening five rounds through injury but returns for Sunday's home clash.
Rotation could also be on the cards for City, given their heavy week.
Socceroos star Mathew Leckie played 20 minutes off the bench in Japan in his return from a knee injury and could increase his minutes against the Jets.
Veteran defender Curtis Good is due to become City's outright ALM games record holder in his 162nd appearance, overtaking former captain Scott Jamieson.
Steven Ugarkovic (200 games), Terry Antonis (150) and Aziz Behich (100) are also due to reach ALM milestones if they take the field.
Australian Associated Press