Energy Australia Stadium, Australia

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0


Jets want to strike first against Reds

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond is urging his side to grab the early ascendancy against A-League high flyers Adelaide and not fret over getting their long-awaited first clean sheet.

Losses to both the Victory and the Heart in a fruitless trip to Melbourne and just one win in their past eight games have left the Jets down in eighth, albeit just two points off fifth.

Adelaide consolidated second spot with a 3-0 home win over Sydney after losses to Western Sydney and Brisbane.

Van Egmond ruled out Dominik Ritter (hamstring) and said Jobe Wheelhouse and Michael Bridges were more likely to be used off the bench.

The Jets had to chase both games in Melbourne after conceding first.

"What we need to do well is play well on Saturday night and get at Adelaide and really force the issue and put them on the back foot," van Egmond told reporters.

"We have to take the ascendancy first and we haven't done that probably enough in games.

Remarkably, Newcastle have yet to keep a clean sheet after 14 rounds.

"It can get to be a position of where you become too mindful of it and players are just so fearful of it," van Egmond said.

"It's definitely something that has been identified but it's not something that we're solely and wholly focusing on."

Adelaide are the joint highest scorers in the league, but coach John Kosmina isn't viewing a team with the league's second-worst defensive record as easy prey.

"We have to be really wary of Newcastle," Kosmina said.

"They've struggled in the last month or so and the thing is that they've lost games that they probably didn't deserve to."

Adelaide trained in scorching heat on Friday morning as the mercury soared toward the 40-degree mark.

Kosmina said defender Nigel Boogaard would be out for at least two games with his hamstring injury and would be replaced by Antony Golec.

Kosmina admitted the fact Golec had already played on Newcastle's marquee player Emile Heskey had been a factor in his selection for Saturday's game.

"I know Emile was probably a bit underdone in that first game, but Antony is big and strong," Kosmina said.

"He's aggressive and he's probably the quickest and most powerful player we've got in our squad so, from that aspect, he'll be very useful."

Asked about trying to retain Heskey's services beyond this season, van Egmond said "in relation to Emile, it's been very open dialogue between him and the management so we'll just wait and see."

He said Jets' officials had a meeting on Thursday and had identified players they wanted to retain.

To comment, you must be a registered user. Please Sign In or Register