Newcastle Jets urged to extend unbeaten run

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina has urged his players to not rest on what they have achieved in the past month.

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina has urged his players to not rest on what they have achieved in the past month.

The Hunter club were struggling earlier this season but have put together a string of good results - three wins and two draws in their last five, not including the exhibition win over LA Galaxy.

Although Culina praised his squad for that run, he said it was important to try to double the number of unbeaten matches, beginning with tomorrow night’s midweek fixture with the Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.

“We’ve had now five games in the league – six if you include Galaxy – where we’ve done well,” Culina said.

“What we need to do now is build that up to 10 or 12 like the top teams have done.

“I know that Brisbane are currently up to 15 undefeated games. Adelaide went through 11.

“[Third-placed] Gold Coast had 11 games. We need to be aiming for that.

“We should be trying to show we’ve got what it takes to be up with those top teams.

“At the moment we’re on the right track, but we’re not up there yet.”

Culina still had some injury issues ahead of the Heart meeting with guest striker Francis Jeffers and full-back Tarek Elrich battling groin and knee injuries respectively. The coach said he would give them time to proved their fitness.

“Jeffers did some light jogging today, but he’s touch and go,” Culina said. “With Tarek, we’ll give him another day to see how he responds.

“We’ve got Marcello [Fiorentini] here with us, who didn’t get on the team sheet on Saturday, so if Tarek is ruled out, we’ve got a player on standby.”

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