After suffering their first defeat of the NPL Northern NSW season, the Jets will look to bounce back this Saturday night.
On seven points after four games played, Labi’s lads have slipped out of the top four after last Sunday’s loss to Weston.
That 3-2 defeat was marked by some positives, however – a first goal to Pat Langlois in some time and a nice finish from outside the box by Maki Petratos.
Early goals to Weston proved too much to overcome for the Jets though, whose assignment this weekend will not be an easy one.
Their opponents, Hamilton Olympic, come into this clash off the back of a big 5-1 win over Lake Macquarie City last Saturday night.
The second victory of the season for Olympic, they’ve moved just above the young Jets on the ladder. Both are on seven points, but Hamilton lead on goal difference.
The youthful make-up of Ernie Merrick’s Hyundai A-League squad for this weekend’s clash with Brisbane Roar looks set to impact the NPL side on Saturday.
Jack Simmons and Pat Langlois have both been named in the extended 18-man squad, while Angus Thurgate is once again in the first team frame.
They’ll be notable absences from the Jets midfield should all three travel, but there is a real mix of youth and experience to come in for Labi Haliti's side.
Kieran Hayes came onto the bench after overcoming injury troubles last weekend against Weston, and with another week’s training under his belt is likely to return to the starting XI.
Another man who could also come back into the side is Kent Harrison, who returned from injury for the U/18s side and scored two goals off the bench in their 8-1 win over the Weston U/20’s.
Haliti has also signalled that he'll look to promote some of the youngsters that U/18 team - just reward, following that big win last Sunday.
From the coach
“The Olympic game is probably one of the best games we play, because they like to play football and I’ve got a lot of time for the coach [Peter McGuinness],” Labi Haliti said.
“They’re a good footballing team and a club with a lot of history, we’re looking forward to playing on a good pitch. Last year, every time we played them they turned out to be great games to watch.
“In this league, anyone can beat anyone so you have to turn up. Weston were good [last weekend], they scored early, then it became a bit harder for us to come into the game.
“You have to turn up with the attitudes that these aren’t easy games, but we’ll learn from that. It’s our first hurdle, but it’s part of the journey and we’re confident that we’re on the right path.
“We’ll take games one at a time, we can’t think ahead or to what’s happened in the past weeks. The most important game is the next one… we’ll pick the best possible 11 to go and get a positive result.”