Four matches in a 14-day period could make or break the Jets' hopes of qualifying for the A-League Finals Series.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets will play four matches in a 14-day period that could make or break the Club-s hopes of qualifying for the A-League Finals Series.
The challenging stretch begins with Friday night-s showdown with Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium. A victory would see the Jets move five points clear of the seventh-placed Roar with five rounds of the regular season remaining.
Things get tougher after that however, with the Jets travelling to Wellington to face the Phoenix on Wednesday, February 27, followed another away match against Melbourne Victory on Sunday, March 3.
Newcastle then have a short turnaround before returning home to face Perth Glory at Hunter Stadium on Friday, March 8.
“At the end of the day the main goal is to win as many games as we can,” Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans said.
“Recovery becomes very important and managing the load of the players during the week becomes very important.
“The Brisbane game is one that we 100 per cent have to win and we can put out as strong a team as we can.
“We then go to Wellington and we-ll look to do the same again. Then the question might be the third game, how people have coped with the two games in five days, and the travel to and from Wellington.
“You can have all the plans in the world but when you have short turnarounds and a lot of travel, sometimes you need to make some changes on the run and we-ll just assess it as we go.”
Deans said the Jets hadn-t made any specific plans to rest or rotate players during the four-game stretch, but would monitor each player closely and make assessments based on each individual-s fitness.
“It-s more the older players and how they cope with the travel and how they cope with playing three games in 10 days,” Deans said.
“It-s a day-by-day thing. If there is an opportunity to give them a rest, similar to what we did on Friday night where you can take people off with 20 or 30 minutes to go to save them, that would be a sensible thing to look at.”
Deans said the Jets had been buoyed by last Friday-s 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart.
“I think it was a really positive performance and some good football was played,” he said. “It-s the start of something that hopefully we can continue on for another six weeks plus.
“We have to win our home games from here until the end of the season. We need to continue on with how we went on Friday, but we need to keep improving as well.”
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar Friday, February 22 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm (Gates open 6.30pm) Tickets from PROticket