Jets wary of under-strength Phoenix


Newcastle midfielder Steven Ugarkovic says the Jets won’t change their approach despite Wellington Phoenix missing key players for Sunday’s crucial fixture at Westpac Stadium.

The Jets travel to Wellington six points in arears of sixth-placed Wanderers and need to take three points in order to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

Wellington remain five points outside the top six and will be without regulars Roy Krishna, Andrew Durante, Michael McGlinchey, Glen Moss and Shane Smeltz for Sunday’s clash due to international commitments.  

The race for sixth in the Hyundai A-League

“A football game is decided on the day so we are not looking into that too much,” Ugarkovic said when asked whether or not the missing Phoenix stars would affect Sunday’s match outcome.

City playmaker Luke Brattan challenges for the ball with Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic.

“We know that they (Wellington Phoenix) have got quality and depth in their squad.

“They always have quality up front when we play them, but we have to win and I know that we have the quality in our team do that.

“We need to go there and get three points however we can (and) fight until the end.”

After training in Newcastle on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week the Jets will venture across the Tasman on Friday afternoon, ensuring they have the best possible preparation for the clash with the ‘Nix.

Ugarkovic believes flying to Wellington two days before the game will help with performance.

Newcastle Jets hope to bring a Chile flavour to the Hyundai A-League with a view to on-selling Chilean players to the Chinese Super League.

“I definitely prefer to go two days before because of the time difference,” he said. “The travel takes it out you – a bus to Sydney and then a flight.”

“Definitely going two days before helps – it gets your body clock in shape and you get a little bit of time to acclimatise to the weather and conditions over there,” he explained.