Victory in our sights

Head Coach Branko Culina speaks ahead of the round 22 clash against second placed Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

Newcastle Jets mentor Branko Culina has declared his teams- 4-0 Boxing Day loss to Perth Glory as “an off day” as his side prepares to take on competition heavyweights Melbourne Victory at EnergyAustralia Stadium this Sunday.

While the heavy defeat in the west was a setback to the Jets- stellar recent run of form, Culina believes the loss is a forgone memory for his players as they look to return to winning ways.

“Psychologically it-s behind us,” Culina told NewcastleJets.com.au. “No one likes losing [and] it was disappointing to lose four nil but it was an off day.”

Instead of mulling over his team-s first defeat in five fixtures, Culina has chosen to focus on the positives stemming from his squad which include a healthy competitive intensity at training as well as the expected return of Englishman Michael Bridges from a hamstring complaint.

“We-re beginning to pick up the tempo, I-m quite pleased with the way we-re training,” Culina said.

“[Bridges is] an experienced player who can hold up the ball and bring other players into the game, so if he-s fit and available he-s a key player and we need those types of players.”

“Friday will be a more intense session and if he pulls through that there-s a fair chance he-ll be there.”

And Culina believes there may be good value for money on offer for fans with the match having the potential to serve up finals like qualities.

“Every game we play from now until the end of the season will be a finals game for us and the opposition, because we-re all trying to either stay in the top six, or the current positions we hold, or even improve on it,” Culina said.

“They-re coming off a loss, we-re coming off a loss, so it should be a very interesting game.”

With the match pitting the Hyundai A-League-s second placed side (Victory) against fourth placed club (Jets), fans can secure their tickets to the enticing Sunday afternoon encounter by logging on to www.proticket.com.auor by calling (02) 4915 2345.

The clash between the past two Hyundai A-League Champions kicks off at 5pm (AEDT).