Jets looking to take it to Wanderers


Mark Birighitti says the Jets need a strong start against Western Sydney in order to capitalise on their opponents’ heavy schedule.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti believes the Jets need to start strongly against Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday, in order to capitalise on their opponents- recent heavy schedule.

After a testing away trip to face Perth Glory at nib Stadium last Saturday, the Wanderers open up their inaugural Asian Champions League campaign when they take on South Korean Club Ulsan Hyundai at Pirtek Stadium tonight.

Birighitti said the Wanderers might be vulnerable early on against the Jets as they play their third match in eight days.

“It-s the first time Western Sydney have been involved in the Champions League, so you never know how they-re going to react to it,” Birighitti said.

“We know they-re a fit side, but playing so many games in a small amount of time, it definitely takes its toll in the end.

“With all the travelling and everything, you have to take that into consideration as well.

“Hopefully they-ll have a few tired legs and we can roll over them this weekend.

“We just have to go at them from the start, don-t give them any time or space.

“We-re playing on their home pitch and the atmosphere is going to be incredible… if we can get into half-time without conceding a goal, we-ll definitely give them a real crack and hopefully get three points.”

With the Jets currently sitting four points outside the top six with seven rounds remaining, Birighitti said each of the Jets- remaining fixtures were gaining added importance on a weekly basis.

“It-s a massive game,” Birighitti said.

“We really should have won on the weekend at home in front of our supporters… but what a way to try and turn it around against Western Sydney.

“From now until the end of season, we have to start picking up points and that starts this weekend against Western Sydney.”

Birighitti said he felt the Jets were not far off reaching the level of play required to qualify for the Hyundai A-League Finals Series under interim head coach Clayton Zane.

“We have full belief in Clayton and the way he wants to play and we-re playing some good football in patches,” Birighitti said.

“I watch the games over again and we-re getting into some good positions, but it-s just the final cross or the final pass that-s killing us at the moment, but if we get that right, we-re definitely going to be a real threat.”

Having made his debut for the Socceroos in June last year, Birighitti was left out of Ange Postecoglu-s squad for the upcoming friendly match against Ecuador in London.

While Postecoglu elected to go with overseas based goalkeepers Brad Jones, Mitch Langerak and Matt Ryan, Birighitti said he-d not given up hope of being selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“I was lucky enough to represent my country last year at the East Asian Cup and it was an amazing experience,” Birighitti said.

“I definitely have the World Cup at the back of my mind, it would be a massive boost for my career if I do get a call-up as one of the three goalkeepers that do make the squad to go to Brazil.

“Anything is possible, I just have to keep doing my thing, keep playing well for the Jets and keep training hard and the rest will take care of itself.”