Haliti poised to strike

Will Labinot Haliti’s run of goals against Melbourne Victory continue in round 22?

Having scored two goals in as many games against Melbourne this season, it-s with reason that Labinot Haliti heads into this Sunday-s mouth watering Hyundai A-League match-up with the Victory brimming with confidence.

But despite his last gasp headed heroics at Etihad Stadium in round five and clinical finish at EnergyAustralia Stadium in round 11, the versatile attacker says he-s preparing for the critical round 22 fixture like he would any other.

“I think every game you-ve got to take it the same”, Haliti told NewcastleJets.com.au following training at Ray Watt Oval on Wednesday morning.

“Against them I-ve scored two but hopefully this weekend I-ll be back on the scoresheet, it-s been a while, but every game is the same.”

Now well and truly settled back in Newcastle since his return from Polish Ekstraklasa outfit LKS Lódz in September, Haliti feels the support he-s received from the Jets- coaching staff, combined with his experiences abroad have helped take his Hyundai A-League performances to a new level.

Crucially, it-s been the guidance of head coach Branko Culina and stepping out alongside and against some of Eastern Europe-s finest footballers which has helped aid his development.

“He [Branko] lets you express yourself [and] gives you a lot of opportunities”, Haliti said. “I-ve enjoyed my time under him. By him supporting me I-ve contributed to the team.”

“Overseas you play with a lot of experienced, international players. I-ve been lucky enough to play with some very big names, players who have played in the German Bundesliga, Champions League and UEFA Cup. It-s all good to help me get a lot better as a player.”

One big name that ex-Olyroo Haliti looks set to line up alongside this weekend is Englishman Michael Bridges, who has overcome a hamstring injury to put his name back into Jets selection contention.

Prior to Bridges- injury, Haliti and the former Leeds United star struck up one of the league-s most potent attacking partnerships, and Haliti is relishing the chance to ignite that connection once more.

“Not just me but the whole team-s missed him,” Haliti said. “Obviously before he got injured he was doing well, but I-m looking forward to playing with him again and hopefully getting a good result.”

The Melbourne match is the first of three games in seven days for the Jets in a crucial juncture which also includes tricky tasks away to Gold Coast United and Brisbane Roar.

To see if Haliti can add to his tally of goals against Melbourne this campaign visit www.proticket.com.au or call (02) 4915 2345.