A-League Preview: Heart hope to continue improvement under JVS
By Football News
Melbourne Heart can continue their unbeaten start in John van 't Schip's second tenure as coach, when they travel to Perth on Friday.
The Heart put in a positive performance away to the Central Coast Mariners in their first match since the sacking of John Aloisi, with Van 't Schip's men battling to a 0-0 draw in Gosford on Sunday.
The result saw the Heart to just their seventh point picked up outside of Victoria in over two years, and they will look to add to the positive showing away at Perth Glory's nib Stadium on Friday night.
Perth are also in the infancy of a new era under coach Kenny Lowe and earned their first win under the Englishman in his third match in charge with a 1-0 result on the road at the Newcastle Jets to start 2014 in ideal fashion.
Despite their good showings of late, the Glory (seventh) and the Heart (bottom) remain in the lower half of the league table, although the Western Australian outfit can crack the top six with all three points.
The Heart are still searching for their first win of the season, as they languish in 10th spot with five points from 13 encounters.
Going against Van 't Schip's men is their atrocious road record, with their last interstate win coming on December 29, 2011.
Also on Friday, the Jets will host Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
Newcastle can leapfrog the visitors on the table with a win, with just one point separating the sixth-placed Jets from Victory in fourth.
Both sides are coming off a loss, with Victory routed by league leaders Brisbane Roar 3-0 at home while the Jets - beaten by Perth last time out - have lost three of their past four.
Brisbane, who sit seven points clear at the summit, welcome Adelaide United to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
The Roar have won 10 of 13 games this season, while the Reds have turned their fortunes around of late, going unbeaten in four matches under Spanish tactician Josep Gombau.
On Saturday night, all eyes turn to Parramatta - as Premier's Plate holders Western Sydney Wanderers host fierce rivals Sydney FC.
The Wanderers were jumped 3-1 by in-form Wellington Phoenix on New Year's Day, while Sydney will be hungry for a victory after going winless in their past three.
On Sunday, the Phoenix will aim to make it four wins in succession for head coach Ernie Merrick, as they host the Mariners in Wellington.
The Phoenix were without a win just days out from Christmas but triumphs over Sydney FC, the Heart and the Wanderers has seen the NZ outfit move to within five points of the top six.