Branko still believes

Despite being just a point off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League table at the halfway stage of the competition Newcastle coach Branko Culina believes the Jets are finals contenders.

Despite being just a point off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League table at the halfway stage of the competition Newcastle coach Branko Culina believes the Jets are finals contenders.

After a solid start to the season the Jets endured a horror run where they picked up just one point from six rounds to plummet to the foot of the table.

However, a recent run of good results has seen the 2007/08 champions revitalise their chances of playing a part in the finals come February.

"I think we are (a finals team)," Culina said.

"I think we're even more than just a team that's capable of making the finals, I think if we can get a bit of momentum going, and have our best squad available we're quite capable of hurting every team in the competition."

"We've beaten Gold Coast, we've beaten Central Coast, in my opinion we were very unlucky against both Melbourne and Sydney, and they are the frontrunners, so what is there really to be afraid of? "

"As you can see everyone can beat everyone.”

Culina admitted his side was younger than most but rather than inexperience, the key factor was confidence.

"It is no secret we lack a bit of experience in key areas," he said. "But when everyone is available we have a fairly decent side that is capable of matching anyone."

"What I'd like to see with this team is to put together two or three good results and then you can feel confident. And if we are capable of doing that then we are capable of being there at the end."

The Newcastle boss also said having a consistent starting side was also crucial to maintaining momentum for a drive at the finals.

"It would be nice to keep the same 11 but we haven't had that luxury," he said. "I heard a stat that Sydney had the same team for seven weeks - that's a luxury."

"We got a point at Brisbane and three players from that game were unavailable for the next game against Wellington. That is the kind of thing we have had all year. But that's what we have been dealt and we cop it."

"We have got Ben Kantarovski returning for the next game against Wellington and that sure gives us some more depth because he is a quality player and it will be the first time this year that I have the luxury of choosing my best 11."