Football 2 years ago

Jets draw confidence from last Victory win

  • Jets draw confidence from last Victory win

Newcastle aren't dwelling on their last eight winless A-League games, because they're looking forward to knocking over defending champions Melbourne Victory again.

During rookie coach Scott Miller's early season honeymoon, the Jets outlasted the Victory at Hunter Stadium 1-0 when David Carney struck with 25 minutes to go.

That was back in round three.

You might also like

Eighth-placed Newcastle haven't won at home since - their last victory was round four away to Melbourne City.

Confidence in front of goal has dwindled and the disciplined defensive structure that held out bigger sides depleted in a large part due to injuries and the departure of left-back Lee Ki-je to Korea.

They also couldn't have picked a better time for Sunday's rematch, with fifth-placed Victory's unexpected slump to a club-record five winless results leaving even coach Kevin Muscat unable to pinpoint the issue.

"We'll take a lot of weight from the win that we had against them early on in the season," said central defender Daniel Mullen, who played his first match back from a seven-match injury lay-off against Western Sydney on Christmas Eve.

"If we can get back to the way we were playing there, we were defensively very solid and when we went forward we were going forward with purpose."

For clarity, Miller has broken Newcastle's season down into six-game chunks.

Last week's 2-0 loss to the Wanderers marked the end of round 12 and phase two.

Though starkly less successful than phase one, the line has been drawn in the sand and experienced right-back Jason Hoffman challenged his team to respond.

"If we're going to play finals then we've got to show some character now," he said.

"We've got to start the new year with a bang, with three points at home.

"I've seen it too many times over the last few A-League seasons where teams have had a good start to the year, slump in the middle, then come back with a bang ... that's our goal, and of course I think it's realistic."

Miller will this time be without the creative outlet of Carney (suspended), while tightly managed Brazilian playmaker Leonardo is always a question mark.

Recently injured captain and centre-back Nigel Boogaard sat Tuesday's training session out with an ankle niggle, but said he'd be back on the park on Wednesday.

Boogaard, Mullen and Hoffman admitted they'll have their hands full containing proven goalscorer Besart Berisha.

"He's the type of player who can go missing for large parts of the game, then just pop up and be at the right place at the right time and get goals," Mullen said.

"When we have the ball he's always niggling at your heels and putting pressure on.

"We've got to be alert all game."

0 0
please wait...