In-form Jets set for F3 derby clash

As the Jets return to the Hyundai A-League top six, a record-making moment looms.

Make no mistake; the Newcastle Jets are on course to create history this season.

As the team soars into the Hyundai A-League top six courtesy of back-to-back wins against the North Queensland Fury this week, the Jets are on target to become the only club to ever appear in five Finals Series.

As of last season, the Jets and Sydney FC were locked at 4 series appearances apiece, but with the Sky Blues currently sitting in 9th position, the door has been left open for the in-form Jets.

Marko Jesic's 12th minute strike on Tuesday night sent the big midweek crowd inside EnergyAustralia Stadium into raptures, and sets the scene perfectly for this Sunday's showdown against Newcastle's fiercest rivals, the Central Coast Mariners.

Graham Arnold's men have had a season to remember themselves as they currently sit in third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder, but two strong victories in the space of four days will have Branko Culina's Jets side flying high into the contest.

Iraqi winger Ali Abbas has been working double-time to prove his fitness in time for the F3 Derby as he recovers from a groin injury, and he could prove to be a vital member of a potent attack which also boasts goalscorer Jesic, Ryan Griffiths and Labinot Haliti.

Standing in the Jets striker's way will be 2010/11 NAB Young Footballer of the Year December Nominee, Matt Ryan. The talented 18-year-old Mariners goalkeeper is in line to break the Hyundai A-League record for most number of clean sheets, but with 6 goals in their past 4 outings, Newcastle's frontmen will take some serious stopping.

With this enticing derby looming, Culina said his charges are full of confidence and momentum as they prepare to perform in front of their home fans.

"I believe in this team," he said.

"I think you like to go into those type of games with wins behind you. We didn't talk about it, but we knew that if we won it would put us back in that top six and it's up to us now to lose that spot."

"We've still got a game in hand on most other teams so we're in a good position, but we know it's going to be tough for the last seven games."

To celebrate this Sunday afternoon's family-friendly kick-off time of 5pm (AEDT), all children under-16 will receive FREE entry to see their Newcastle Jets' heroes at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Plus tickets for this mouth-watering clash are available from just $10 per adult, when pre-purchased on line at Pro-Ticket. This great ticket offer further re-enforces the club's commitment to ensuring a day at the Jets is an affordable piece of family entertainment.

So don't miss out on your seat to this season's hottest contest as the Jets take on the Central Coast Mariners in the F3 Derby this Sunday, 16 January. Visit www.proticket.com.au while tickets still last.