Newcastle midfielder Steven Ugarkovic says the fact that Wellington Phoenix will be missing six regular starters for this Sunday’s clash in New Zealand must not affect the way the Jets approach the round 24 contest.
Ugarkovic acknowledged that last round’s 4-0 loss to Melbourne City was a sizeable “blow” to the team’s chances of a finals place, and knows that Sunday now represents a make or break equation for Mark Jones’s men.
Ugarkovic wants the Jets to show spirit and spark against the ‘Nix in the land of the long white cloud this weekend, and cautioned that even without their All White luminaries Wellington present a prickly proposition.
“A football game is decided on the day so we are not looking into that too much,” Ugarkovic said when asked whether or not the missing Phoenix stars would affect Sunday’s match outcome.
“We know that they (Wellington Phoenix) have got quality and depth in their squad.”
“They always have quality up front when we play them, but we have to win and I know that we have the quality in our team do that.”
“We need to go there and get three points however we can (and) fight until the end,” he said.
With no international break scheduled for the Hyundai A-League the ‘Nix will be without defenders Andrew Durante and Thomas Doyle, midfielders Michael McGlinchey and Alex Rufer, and attackers Shane Smeltz and Roy Krishna for the visit of Newcastle.
After training in Newcastle on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week the Jets will venture across the Tasman on Friday afternoon, ensuring they have the best possible preparation for the clash with the ‘Nix.
Ugarkovic believes flying to Wellington two days before the game will help with performance.
“I definitely prefer to go two days before because of the time difference,” he said. “The travel takes it out you - a bus to Sydney and then a flight.”
“Definitely going two days before helps - it gets your body clock in shape and you get a little bit of time to acclimatise to the weather and conditions over there,” he explained.
The Jets’ match against the ‘Nix this Sunday kicks off at 5:00pm (AEDT).
Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets - Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Round 24
When: Sunday 26 March 2017
Where: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 7:00pm (local); 5:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Watch LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #WELvNEW #ALeague