Bridges blow for Jets

The Newcastle Jets will be without English striker Michael Bridges for Sunday's Hyundai A-League clash with the Wellington Phoenix but are hoping the predicted hot conditions will give them an advantage in the Round 15 match.

The Newcastle Jets will be without English striker Michael Bridges for Sunday's Hyundai A-League clash with the Wellington Phoenix but are hoping the predicted hot conditions will give them an advantage in the Round 15 match.

Bridges was ruled out from this weekend's fixture with a hamstring injury sustained in the 2-0 win over the North Queensland Fury a fortnight ago. He joins fellow striker Sasho Petrovski (ankle) and goalkeeper Ben Kennedy (groin) on the sidelines for the crucial fixture at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Young gun striker Sean Rooney is also under an injury cloud with a persistent quadriceps complaint. However, he is expected to be available for selection after he trained strongly with the team in Friday's abbreviated training session.

And while Jets coach Branko Culina is still undecided as to his starting line-up he is hoping the heatwave currently hitting the east coast of Australia works in Newcastle's advantage.

"The conditions will play a big part into how the game is played," said Culina.

"They (Wellington) had the advantage over there when we played them recently. It was cold and windy. So there was a definite advantage to them in that game."

"Hopefully, if the weather prevails as it is right now it will be an advantage to us because we have had a few days to get used to it."

Culina is also wary of the Wellington Phoenix line-up that will be buoyed by New Zealand's spectacular victory on the weekend over Bahrain which confirmed its passage to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"It is a danger game because after every low there is a high and after every high there is a low," said Culina.

"They are certainly on a high. Will they come into the game feeling on a high or will they be a little bit on a low and we will be able to take full advantage with the conditions more suitable to us?"

"But that is the key - how will they come back after half of their team took part in that game against Bahrain and celebrated for Saturday and a few days after that?"

"But that should not really be a concern for us. They are not a better team than us, so I am more worried what we can do."

Culina was also quick to quash any rumours there would be a change in the captaincy after news surfaced this week that current skipper Matt Thompson would be leaving the club at the end of the season.

"I have no issue with Thommo leaving," he said. "It is the player's prerogative to do what is best for them."

"As long as he does the job for us on the weekends on the park he will be considered every week just like every other player."