The Jets will look to keep their hopes of an A-League finals berth alive when they take on Adelaide United on Friday night.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets will look to keep their hopes of an A-League Finals Series berth alive when they take on Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.
Newcastle currently occupy sixth spot on the A-League ladder, but with a handful of teams breathing down their necks with a game in hand, the Jets are in the position of needing to pick up all three points against Adelaide.
The Jets are coming off the back of a dispiriting last-minute loss to Perth Glory last weekend and assistant coach Craig Deans said they are looking for an immediate response this Friday against the Reds.
“The loss to Perth was a shattering thing to sit through, but hopefully it-s character building for the players and they take the positives out of it which there were a few of,” Deans said.
“We continue on for the last two games and we hope that-s something we don-t have to look back on and say it cost us our place in the finals.”
The Jets appear likely to be boosted by the return of central midfielder Zenon Caravella.
“All things being equal, Zenon will be fine to go,” Deans said.
“Zenon coming back is a real positive for us. I think he-s added a lot to the team in the time he-s been here.
“Him having the experience of Adelaide will also be a good thing for the squad and hopefully he-ll add a bit more confidence around the younger ones.”
Michael Bridges and Ruben Zadkovich had a lighter training schedule earlier this week, in order to ensure they are fresh for Friday-s game.
“With Bridgey and Ruben we-re just going to ease them through the week just to make sure they-re fit and ready to go on Friday,” Deans said.
“For Ruben especially it-s been a long year and the amount of work that he gets through week to week is something you have to be mindful of. It-s more just a matter for keeping the legs fresh.”
Deans said the Jets would give themselves attacking options, by featuring players who can have an impact on the match on their bench.
“We have to look at the balance of the squad, but we have to win the game, so I-d imagine having attacking weapons on the bench could be the way to go,” Deans said.
“We need to win the game, which means we need to score goals.”