Culina realistic ahead of final home clash

Branko Culina hails the effort of his players ahead of Thursday's home game against Robbie Fowler's Perth Glory.

“I-m an optimist, but a realist. The optimist in me tells me we-re still in it, but the realist in me tells me it-s unlikely,” Branko Culina said following Sunday-s come-from-behind draw with Sydney FC.

Culina-s sage words perhaps best explain the situation that Newcastle finds itself in as the season draws to a close. The Jets currently sit six points adrift of sixth-place with two games remaining and in need of something spectacular to reach the post-season playoffs.

But all is certainly not lost ahead of this Thursday-s clash at home to Perth Glory.

The game, featuring Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, will be the Jets- final appearance at EnergyAustralia Stadium for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season and plenty of pride will be on the line come kick-off time.

In a boost to the playing stocks, Ryan Griffiths is set to return from suspension this week, joining Ali Abbas (groin) and Sasho Petrovski (flu), who both made comebacks from their respective ailments against Sydney on the weekend.

Petrovski was a surprise late inclusion in the squad, and made his presence felt by coming off the bench to net the equaliser in the 84th minute against his old club.

For now, Culina will look to build on the spirited performance his charges displayed in wild and wet conditions on Sunday; a characteristic the coach says has defined his team throughout the injury-plagued campaign.

“I-d like to see any other team put up with what we-ve had to. And we-ve gone close, apart from one or two of the games, we-ve gone close in every other game.”

“I-m not happy that our dream probably won-t eventuate, but I-m very, very proud and pleased with what the group of players have done under difficult circumstances.”

“Words just fail me because it-s just an enormous effort, considering everything that-s been going on, I-m very pleased with the effort,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the club is again offering Adult tickets from just $10 when pre-purchased online, and Children Under-16 will receive FREE entry when accompanied by a ticket holder.

To be there for the Jets- final home game of the season against Perth Glory, simply visit www.proticket.com.au.

Match Details: Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory EnergyAustralia Stadium Thursday, 10 February Kick-off 7:30pm Pre-purchase your tickets online and save at www.proticket.com.au