Jets ready for Victory test

Craig Deans believes the Jets know what they can expect when they take on Melbourne Victory iat Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans believes the Jets know what they can expect when they take on Melbourne Victory in Saturday-s vital clash at Hunter Stadium.

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The Victory have opted to rest a host of key players from their mid-week Asian Champions League fixture at Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, meaning they are likely to be near full strength when they take on the Jets on Saturday.

Deans said Newcastle would prepare the same for the clash regardless of which group of players the Victory put on the park.

“I think they play the same style of football every week, so I think it-s pretty obvious what we can expect,” Deans said.

“We just need to make sure we understand what-s required from individuals and from the team, execute it well and show commitment and desire in front of our Members at home.

“Two weeks ago they were second and I think now they-re sitting fifth and if results don-t go their way, they could miss the finals as well.

“As we-ve said all along, it-s not an easy competition.

“We need to make sure that regardless of who the Victory brings to Newcastle, we put in a performance that keeps us in with a chance of making the top six.”

Deans said Ben Kantarovski is likely to come into the starting line-up for the injured Zenon Caravella, who is expected to miss four to six weeks with a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain.

“It-s disappointing for Zenon, he-s been a good contributor for at least the last six weeks for us and he has been very consistent with his performances,” Deans said.

“He was really enjoying his football and it-s a shame to see someone go out this late in the season.

“Ben Kantarovski was one of our better players in the early part of the season before injury got him.

“It-s the swings and roundabouts of sport and I-m sure that Kanta will be better for the 70-odd minutes he got on the weekend and we-re more than comfortable with him coming in.

“Zenon is more of a ball-player than Kanta, so maybe someone like Ruben can step in and take a bit more of the responsibility in that role.

“That will allow Kanta to be the real defensive midfielder that makes it difficult for the other team to create chances.”

Deans said there was a sense of déjà vu with the Jets leaving their push for a place in the Finals Series to the last minute once again.

“It-s the same every year,” Deans explained.

“There are a couple of Clubs that streak away from the pack and there-s probably five or six that fight it out for the other four spots.

“That-s the nature of the competition. Of course we-d love to have secured our spot in the top six already, but we haven-t.

“I think the last two seasons have come down to the last game and that-s not something that you want to make a habit of, so we need to improve.”

While the seventh-placed Jets are considered by many pundits to be outsiders to finish in the top six, Deans said that was a position the Jets would relish over the coming fortnight.

“The underdog tag that we always get given is something that we seem to respond well to,” Deans said.

“In the past we-ve had a good record against the Victory, but I don-t think you can rely on previous performances

“We need to come out and start the game the way we did against Wellington a few weeks ago.

“I think if we sit back against the Victory and try to hold them out for 90 minutes, that-s going to make it tough for ourselves.

“We need to be positive with the ball and positive in what we do without the ball.”

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Hunter Stadium Saturday April 5 Kick-off 5.30pm Tickets available from PROticket.