Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has declared Sydney FC beatable and laughed off Graham Arnold's grandiose scoreline predictions as "a little bit of theatre".
On the eve of the Jets' third meeting with the Sky Blues, Topor-Stanley also said the reigning champions and 11-point leaders would be anxious about facing Ernie Merrick's goal-happy challengers in the Hunter.
"We've more than matched them," the former Western Sydney Wanderer said, specifically citing January's 2-2 draw at Allianz Stadium.
"We were a whisker away from beating them on their turf last game and I'm sure, in the backs of their minds, they'll be remembering that game.
"They've clearly got great players, but so do we. We've scored some great team goals as well, not just individuals, so I think they'll be worried about us too."
Arnold is infamous for big pre-match talk, having claimed to have predicted December's 6-0 punishment of Perth, having laid down the challenge to his players.
That directly preceded the exhilarating draw with the Jets, when Bobo scored an 87th-minute equaliser to silence the scoreline challenge Sydney's players had made that week in private.
"It's a little bit of theatre," Topor-Stanley said.
"He's known for that and I laugh it off these days. In my younger years, it would have got me riled up, but it's all good.
"They're not unbeatable. They're a great side, no doubt about it, and they deserve to be on top of the table.
"But we're right there following them and we've got it in us to beat anyone."
Topor-Stanley described the game as a grand-final rehearsal and committed to bringing the intensity to match in front of an expected crowd of more than 15,000.
In a massive boost, his central defensive partner and skipper Nigel Boogaard came through Friday's final training session. He is expected to play despite picking up a knee injury during last week's 1-0 win over Brisbane.
The Jets have netted 41 goals this season - at least one in all 21 games - but will host a Sydney side who've buried a league-high 53 courtesy of their prolific front four.
Topor-Stanley was under no allusions the back four were up for an onerous test.
"The stats don't lie," he said.
"They're ahead in goals scored so there's a reason why they're top of the league, because they've got that attacking potential."
Australian Associated Press