Jets target back-to-back victories

Branko Culina believes that records are made to be broken, and the Newcastle Jets’ Head Coach is hoping to see another milestone tumble when his side takes on Melbourne Victory on Thursday night.

Branko Culina believes that records are made to be broken, and the Newcastle Jets- Head Coach is hoping to see another milestone tumble when his side takes on Melbourne Victory on Thursday night.

The last time the Jets won two Hyundai A-League games in succession was in February 2008. Triumphs over the Queensland Roar and Central Coast Mariners just over 18 months ago, in the Preliminary Final and Grand Final respectively, gave the club from the Hunter Valley its first Hyundai A-League championship, but last season such consistency was seemingly difficult to replicate.

After defeating the previously unbeaten Gold Coast United 1-0 last Sunday, the Jets are now in a position to string consecutive wins together. Standing in their way tomorrow evening will be reigning champions Melbourne Victory, who will be looking for redemption after going down 2-1 away to Perth Glory last weekend.

Culina this afternoon said it would be consistent form, particularly away from home, that would determine the success of his side-s Hyundai A-League 2009/10 campaign.

“It-s important that we gain that momentum, we have had a terrific win last week against the team that is still the benchmark of Australian football, but that means nothing if we can-t back it up and get a result in Melbourne.”

“I did say last week that the next month is going to really test the Newcastle Jets- character, depth and quality.”

“As I said, the result against Gold Coast was superb. However, we need to bounce back. We haven-t won away from home for a little while and to be a top team you need to do that,” he said.

Sean Rooney-s 40th minute thunderbolt last start will no doubt have Culina-s men full of confidence as they head to the Victorian capital, and this self-belief has been manifest throughout the team-s training sessions this week.

“The players are keen to play, which is terrific. They want to play for the jersey, they want to play for the club, they want to be a part of a team that they believe in.”

“It-s funny how a win can change that. That-s not to say that the players didn-t want to do that before, but when you win, and you win well against a very good side, everyone wants to be a part of that. So it-s great for all of us,” Culina explained.

If a visit to the intimidating Etihad Stadium wasn-t looming as a difficult enough obstacle, the Jets are faced with a number of players with injury concerns heading into the encounter, including marquee player Fabio Vignaroli who is nursing a hamstring complaint.

“We might be forced to take one or two extra, just to cover for the players that are under a cloud at the moment.”

“We want to make sure that we have the best possible squad available to us and Fabio is obviously one of those.”

“He-s under a cloud – a huge cloud. We-ll leave it up to Fabio to decide, to put his hand up if he wants to play.”

“We-re dealing with a very experienced player, he-s our marquee player and we-d love to have him in the team because obviously he brings more to the team when he is there.”

“However, if he-s not up to it and he feels that the body cannot deal with it then we will abide by that and respect it,” Culina said.

The Jets will arrive in Melbourne this evening as they prepare for tomorrow evening-s Etihad Stadium encounter.

Match Details:
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 7.30pm
Referee: Chris Beath

Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3.

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 5.Surat SUKHA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS (c), 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 23.Adrian LEIJER

In: Matthew KEMP (promoted)

Out: Carlos HERNANDEZ (international duty)

Unavailable: Evan BERGER (groin – 3/4 weeks), Kevin MUSCAT (hamstring – 1 week)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 10. Donny DE GROOT, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 24. Chris TRIANTIS, 25. Labinot HALITI
*three to be omitted*

In: Labinot HALITI (new player), Donny DE GROOT (promoted), Chris TRIANTIS (promoted)

Out: Shaun ONTONG (Achilles – indefinite)

Unavailable: 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI (ankle – 1/2 weeks), 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (ankle – 2 weeks), Marko JESIC (knee – indefinite)

*Head-to-Head: Played 12: Melbourne Victory wins 3, Newcastle Jets wins 7, Drawn 2)