Gary van Egmond says the Jets are under no illusions as to the importance of Friday clash with Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond says the Jets are under no illusions as to the importance of Friday night-s clash with Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
The Jets are currently locked in a tightly contested battle for a spot in the Hyundai A-League-s top six, with only four competition points separating third and seventh.
A win for the Jets on Friday night could see them move from sixth place to third, while a loss could potentially see them drop out of the top six.
Van Egmond said the Jets were well aware of the importance of Friday-s fixture against the Victory.
“It-s a big game for both teams and we-re at home and we-ve lost two at home and we certainly don-t want to make that three,” van Egmond said.
“We-ll get back to what we-ve been doing well, make ourselves pretty resilient but still knowing that we have an onus to play.
“It-s very close, third spot is only two points ahead of us, but we-re at home so we need to get maximum points.”
Van Egmond said the Jets would take confidence from their 2-1 win over the Victory at AAMI Park earlier in the season and would look to apply a similar strategy against their opponents this weekend.
“They-re a very good footballing team and they-re always dangerous in the front third, but we-ve got a result against them already this season and that gives us confidence going into this game,” van Egmond said.
“They are a team that likes to come out and play and we do tend to do better against teams that like to play than those that prefer to sit back.
“We know what they look to try and do from an attacking point of view.
“They-re similar to Brisbane in a sense that the one thing you know about them is the way in which they-re going to play and they don-t really deviate that much.
“It-s a test for them to back themselves and ensure they can break teams down by what they-re doing and it-s up to the opposition to repel what they-re going to do and counteract that.”
Further adding to the Victory-s strike power is the likely return of front man Archie Thompson.
“It creates more headaches from my point of view,” van Egmond said.
“He-s a quality player but he-s obviously had a bit of a rough spot with injuries.
“Whether he comes of the bench or whether he starts, he-ll have an impact.
“He-s a goal scorer and that-s maybe one of the things they-ve been lacking… so he probably gives them a bit more of an edge in that front third.”
Meanwhile, van Egmond indicated the Jets are still hopeful of retaining the services of forward Nathan Burns past January 11 when his loan deal from Korean Club Incheon United.
“The Koreans play their cards pretty close to their chest, so it-s just a matter of how that all pans out. It can change pretty quickly per day,” van Egmond said
“We-ve got a transfer window for a period of time and we have to make sure if Nathan doesn-t come back, we have it figured out what we-re going to do.
“There-s a few options that we-ve got and we have to weigh all of them up from an availability and budget point of view.”
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Friday, January 10 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm Tickets available from PROticket.