Jets target back-to-back victories

This Sunday the Newcastle Jets will look to string consecutive wins together for the first time in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

This Sunday the Newcastle Jets will look to string consecutive wins together for the first time in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

The Jets will take on Wellington Phoenix at EnergyAustralia Stadium in a replay of the round 1 encounter which saw the Hunter based club triumph 3-2 in what was a scintillating season opener.

Today, Head Coach Branko Culina stated that his side will need the same intensity and belief that they showed on that occasion in order to gain momentum heading into the back half of the season.

“The most important thing for us in this particular game is that we go out there and put two back-to-back wins together. We haven-t done that all season and for us to be a team that is going to be seriously considered for the finals we have to do that.”

“That-s the most important thing in this game; get the three points, whatever it takes,” he said.

Complicating matters for the Jets, though, is the unavailability of strikers Michael Bridges (hamstring) and Sasho Petrovski (ankle), and goalkeeper Ben Kennedy will also be forced to rest after sustaining a groin injury during the warm-up last start against North Queensland Fury – a game the Jets won 2-0.

In a boost for the home side, young gun Sean Rooney has overcome a quadriceps injury to train fully with the team today and looks set to take his place in the side on Sunday.

“(Rooney) was the other major concern, but he pulled up ok today, let-s see how he pulls up when he cools down a little bit and see how he goes tomorrow. At this stage he will play and then it-s a matter of if we go with the same formation as we did against Fury, or do we change formation to suit the players that we have,” Culina explained.

Meanwhile, many of the Phoenix players will be in buoyant mood with the club having six representatives in the New Zealand national team squad that secured a spot in the FIFA 2010 World Cup after a 1-0 win over Bahrain last weekend.

“It-s a danger game because after every low there-s a high and after every high there-s a low. They are certainly on a high.”

“That-s the key, how will they come back after half of their team have taken part in that game against Bahrain and they were on a huge high, not only for Saturday but for probably a few days after that,” Culina pondered.

The sweltering conditions currently manifest in the Hunter Valley could also prove to be a crucial factor in the match, with the Jets undergoing a rigorous training session in this morning-s heat.

“They had the advantage when we played them over there (earlier this month). It was really cold and windy, so there was a definite advantage to them in that game and hopefully if the weather prevails as it is now it will be an advantage to us,” said Culina.

PGA Tour golfer Nathan Green, a Newcastle local, will be the Jets- special guest for this match, while half-time entertainment will provide Newcastle Jets- Top Gun members the opportunity to win double passes to see Fleetwood Mac live in concert.

Proceedings at EnergyAustralia Stadium will commence at 2:15pm on Sunday when the Jets- Westfield W-League team takes on Canberra United before the Hyundai A-League round 15 encounter between Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix kicks-off at 5pm. Tickets are available from www.proticket.com.au /a>or by calling (02) 4915 2345.