Victory in Newcastle’s sights

Gary van Egmond today gave his thoughts on the Jets’ chances as they prepare to take on Melbourne Victory tomorrow evening at Telstra Dome.

The Newcastle Jets will travel to Melbourne this evening with three points on their radar as they prepare to take on the Melbourne Victory tomorrow evening at Telstra Dome in Round 3 of the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season.

The Jets have an impressive record in the Victorian capital, having won 3 of the 5 games between the two clubs down south. Meanwhile the overall record reads; Melbourne Victory 2 wins, Newcastle Jets 5 wins, with 2 draws in their 9 previous Hyundai A-League encounters.

Head coach Gary van Egmond today expressed his thoughts about the Jets- aspirations of maintaining their head-to-head dominance over the Melbourne Victory.

“We are definitely looking for three points against Melbourne,” van Egmond said. “It-s always a tough game down there. They-ve recruited well and they-ve got a lot of good players and in some instances it must be quite difficult for Ernie (Merrick) to select a squad, or even an eleven, with the amount of playing talent that he-s got down there. They-ve got big expectations this year in regards to winning the league and I know our boys are well and truly looking forward to the challenge.”

Forming a pivotal part of the Jets- squad once again this weekend will be goalkeeper Ante Covic and captain Jade North. The pair were yesterday selected in an extended 27-man Socceroos squad to play against Holland and Uzbekistan in the coming weeks. Indeed, Covic and North were the only players from the Hyundai A-League selected in the squad, and it is an achievement not lost on their club coach.

“We-ve got two players out of the whole A-League who are in the Australian squad and they come from Newcastle. Jade North is not only in the squad but up until the last game was in the eleven,” said van Egmond.

In another boost for the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions, Danish import Jesper Hakansson will be available for tomorrow-s clash after overcoming a calf injury which saw him sidelined for the opening two rounds of the season. Today, van Egmond stated that he would place the Dane immediately into the starting eleven.

“Jesper will start tomorrow and I think he-ll play a more forward going position. The combination in that front third looks good and as we-ve stated, it is going to take a little bit of time to get used to people but that only going to come with more time together and understanding with each other.”

“I think most teams now are very wary of what we can do, when you-ve got the likes of Jesper coming in, and our other imports, coupled with the likes of the Joel Griffiths- and co,” concluded van Egmond.

Newcastle Jets Squad. 1. Ante COVIC, 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH, 5. James HOLLAND, 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 15. Jason HOFFMAN, 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 18. Noel SPENCER, 20. Ben KENNEDY, 23. Edmundo ZURA.
*one to be omitted.

In. 15 Jason Hoffman (returns from Qantas Young Socceroos duties), 6. Jesper Hakansson (returns from injury).
Out. 7. Kaz Patafta (not selected).
Unavailable. 14 Shaun Ontong (ankle – indefinite).