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Jan 25, 2012

Finals still in Jets' reach: Wheelhouse

An inconsistent season has left Newcastle languishing in ninth spot on the A-League ladder but skipper Jobe Wheelhouse is adamant their finals hope are still alive.

Desperate for a win to lift them up the ladder Newcastle could only manage a 1-1 draw against Adelaide in Bathurst on Wednesday.

Dutch import Sergio van Dijk put the Reds in front with Wheelhouse levelling the scores, but the goal was little consolation.

"It wasn't the result we were after, we obviously wanted to get the three points but things just aren't going our way at the moment," Wheelhouse said.

"It's always nice to score a goal, but you'd give that back if you could get the three points, any day of the week.

"We're having more draws than wins, so we have to just go back to the drawing board on Friday.

"We've got a game against Brisbane up there so it's going to be a tough one."

So far this season the Jets have managed just five wins in 18 matches, their away clash to reining premiers the Roar on Sunday an even tougher prospect as Newcastle have yet to taste victory on the road.

Coach Gary van Egmond's uncompromising attitude to match tactics has polarised opinions in the football world and has also led to a public spat with Jets veteran Kasey Wehrman, who has since been dropped.

"Obviously he wants us to play his way and it's just going to take time, it's not something that's going to happen overnight," Wheelhouse said.

"In patches we're playing well and the way he wants us to play, but at times we're not and that's why we're a bit of a bogey team at the moment."

But when asked if the Jets could still make the top six Wheelhouse's response was simple and conclusive: "definitely."

Jets gloveman Ben Kennedy, who along with Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic has conceded the most goals so far this season with 30, also feels a finals berth is well within reach with only four points separating them from the sixth-placed Sydney on what is a congested ladder.

"It's just little mistakes that are costing us," Kennedy said.

"But we can still make the finals, we're only four points out, so that's what we're focusing on at the moment.

"We showed a lot of character to come back from one nil down and we just have to build on that against Brisbane on Sunday."

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