Jets wary of pressure-free Gold Coast
Newcastle skipper Jobe Wheelhouse insists the Jets won't underestimate the bottom-placed and drama-ravaged Gold Coast, insisting the A-League outfit are playing with nothing to lose.
The Jets have won five of their past six matches - a 3-1 away win over Melbourne Victory their last result - and look to be hitting form at the right time with no major injury concerns to derail them.
At the other end of the spectrum Gold Coast have endured a tumultuous time in which their current raft of injuries and their place on the ladder count among the least of their worries.
Football Federation Australia has ensured the future of the club until the end of this season but these final three matches are more than likely the last games the club will ever play.
But Wheelhouse knows the Jets will need to be wary of a team playing without pressure in Friday's clash at Hunter Stadium.
"It's a game that we should win and we have to win but we know how dangerous they can be. They've already beaten us once this year," Wheelhouse said.
"I think their situation could make them more dangerous.
"The pressure is on us. We're expected to win the game.
"They're going out there thinking 'well we can't make the finals' and they're not sure what's going on with the club so they'll be out there totally free of pressure and with nothing really to lose."
The Jets meanwhile have everything to play for.
Just hanging onto sixth spot on the ladder and with two tough games against Brisbane and a likely desperate Sydney left, they will be looking for nothing less than three points to help cement a finals berth.
"We've played some really good games in the last couple of months but it will count for nothing if we can't continue that form against the Gold Coast.
"It's a game that we must win and we should win."
Coming off back-to-back victories and having produced some impressive results in the last six weeks - including a 5-2 thrashing of Sydney and a 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart - the Jets are hoping their momentum will carry them through to the finals.
They're also boosted by their dominant display over the Victory last week - their first away win over the Melbourne side since 2007.
"I think we have really found form at the right time of the season," Wheelhouse said.
"Melbourne are a great side and I think we showed against them if we can be patient and soak up a little bit of pressure we can dominate any team in the competition.
"That's what we've been doing really well - taking our chances - and it will be no different tomorrow night."
In the only change to the Jets line-up, Taylor Regan looks set to replace defender Ruben Zadkovich who is serving a one-match ban.