Stubbins’ Jets ready for Phoenix test


Newcastle Jets head coach Phil Stubbins says his troops are prepared for a difficult outing when they take on the in-form Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

The Phoenix are coming off a 5-1 drubbing of Melbourne City at Westpac stadium last weekend, but Stubbins said his squad is ready to take it to the visitors on  their home turf tomorrow.

“We’re up against Wellington who were outstanding last week and it’s going to be a tough challenge, but I think there’s been a good, buoyant mood in our camp this week,” Stubbins said.

“If Wellington get the ascendency, as they showed last week they’re capable of going on with it, that’s for sure.

“We know what they’re capable of… they’ve certainly got some wonderful players who are capable of hurting you if you’re not on your game.

“Total respect goes to Ernie Merrick and his team, he’s done a wonderful job there, but tomorrow it’s gloves on and we’ll be ready.”

Stubbins said getting the Jets’ first win of the season on Saturday in front of the Club’s Members at Hunter Stadium was a big motivating factor for his outfit.

“For us, it’s all about the supporters this week. We really want to put on a show and strive to do everything we can to make them happy after the game,” Stubbins said.

“If you look at the A-League now, if you can get yourself a win you can shoot up the ladder and that’s what is going to be available for us tomorrow.

“I think it’s massively important for everyone involved with the Club to stick together and be very positive about the outlook and I think a win can change everything.”

The Jets look likely to be without playmaker Marcos Flores against Wellington, after the Argentine was unable to complete training on Friday with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

“We’ve had Marcos there for the last two games and unfortunately he’s struggled to get through training today and he’s pulled up a tad sore,” Stubbins said.

“He might have a slight strain in his hamstring, which ties our hands a bit in regards to the match tomorrow.”

Stubbins indicated that the loss of Flores would not be the only change to the Jets’ starting XI for Saturday’s fixture as he looks to account for the threats posed by the Phoenix.

“There’s possible two or three new faces for us, just to freshen the squad up for the game,” Stubbins said.

“There’s going to be a couple of changes in terms of personnel and how we match up against what Wellington bring to the table so we can counteract their strengths with ours.

“The good thing for us is that the players have now had a lot of time together in training.

“Whoever does come in, it’s not going to be like a foreign landscape anymore for them and they’ll be able to understand their role in conjunction with who they’re playing alongside.”