Jets aware of Phoenix threat

Craig Deans says the Jets have to be wary of the individual attacking threat posed by a handful of Wellington Phoenix players.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans says the Jets have to be wary of the individual attacking threat posed by a handful of Wellington Phoenix players when the two sides meet at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Deans said that Wellington-s attacking trio of Jeremy Brockie, Paul Ifill and Stein Huysegems would have to be closely monitored by Newcastle-s defence throughout the contest.

“We-ll have a good look at Wellington on Friday and see where they-re at and how they-ve been playing in the last couple of weeks, but we pretty much know what to expect from them,” Deans said.

“One of their strong points is their physicality and their direct play at times, but you can-t get caught up in the physicality and directness of Wellington because they-ve got some good footballers as well.

“They-ve got some good individuals in the front third in Brockie, Ifill and Huysegems who has come in this year and scored some good goals for them.

“They-re always a threat in the front third, they work hard as a team, they-re well organised as a team.

“I think from our point of view, we-ve just got to focus on our own performance. We-ve been talking about the defensive side of things and we need to make sure we keep improving that.”

The Jets have scored the equal-highest number of goals so far in the A-League this season, but are yet to keep an opponent scoreless in 2012/13.

“We-ve scored at least two goals in every game, bar the first game against Adelaide, so that-s a real positive for us,” Deans said.

“We just need to tighten up the other end because you can-t keep relying on scoring two or three goals every week to win games.

“Every week you start with a clean sheet, it-s just a matter of whether you keep it or give it away. The players are aware of it, but I think it-s been individual things that might have cost us a little bit.

“They-re things you can fix and you can work on and as the season gets further along your combinations start to form a bit better. Three of our back four are new, plus the goalkeeper so it-s a bit of change and it will take time.”

Deans said the pre-season match between the Jets and Phoenix at Weston, which saw four players were sent off, would not be on the minds of the Jets come Sunday.

“This game is about the three points and I don-t think either of the two teams are silly enough to get caught up in individual things or worry about things that have happened in the past,” Deans said.

“I don-t think it-ll be a major distraction.”

A number of Phoenix players as well as their coach Ricki Herbert are currently in Shanghai for an international friendly between New Zealand and China on Thursday night.

However Deans said the Jets weren-t concerned with what affect the travel might have on the Wellington line-up.

“I don-t think you can worry about what other people are doing away from here. I think the most important thing for us is to focus on our own game and our own individual performances,” he said.

“What the opposition is doing is out of our control. With the Adelaide game you would have expected them to be flat, but that wasn-t the case so I don-t think we can get bitten on the backside with that one again.

“Wellington travel a fair way to all games and they cope with it and they deal with it. They-ve got a good mentality, so from out point of view it-s not really going to come into the equation.”

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix Hunter Stadium Sunday, November 18 Kick-off 3pm (Gates open 2pm) Tickets available from PROticket

Following the conclusion of Sunday-s fixture, children will have the opportunity to have a kick-around on the Hunter Stadium turf.