Culina considers changes

Newcastle coach Branko Culina has indicated he will make some changes to the Jets side for their crucial Hyundai A-League derby match against the Central Coast Mariners on Friday night.

Newcastle coach Branko Culina has indicated he will make some changes to the Jets side for their crucial Hyundai A-League derby match against the Central Coast Mariners on Friday night.

Newcastle gave up an early lead to lose 3-1 to Melbourne at home last weekend to continue a worrying patch of poor results that has seen the Jets pick up one point from their past five matches.

Culina read the riot act to his players at training earlier this weekend, sitting the entire squad down for more than an hour to discuss where the team was at mentally after the run of bad results.

"Friday night's game is all about mental toughness," said Culina. "We are a good football team we just have to be more resilient and tougher to break down. And hopefully we will have the players on the park on Friday who can show that."

The Newcastle head coach indicated he might make some changes to the starting line-up for this clash, particularly given the typical physical nature of derby clashes.

"In these sort of games it can get very physical and we are a light side," Culina said. "We have great ball players like Kaz (Patafta), (Jin-Hyung) Song, Ali (Abbas) - but do you play them in a game like this?"

"We are in the situation at the moment where we are trying to get results and you have to try a few different things. If things are not working you can't just keep saying, 'she'll be right, mate', we've got to try a few different options."

"I don't want anyone to accuse us of not trying to change things around. We have to try to do things that will hopefully turn the game around."

"But you can't just say we will make changes and it will turn our luck around."

"We have been playing good football without results. Last week of our two strikers, one of them scored and then hit the post and the other was in everything, so we have to think, 'what else can we do to help these guys get more than they are getting now?'"

"I expect everyone to step up starting with me as a coach."

The major headache for Culina is trying to find the best option to control the centre defence.

The Jets were dealt a body blow with the news that key central defender Ljubo Milicevic will still be sidelined for Friday night's must-win clash against Central Coast with a heel injury.

"He is still not feeling 100 percent so he is unavailable for the weekend," confirmed Culina.

"But we continue to experiment with a few different options. We've got enough quality there so we should be able to handle that situation."

Angelo Costanzo, who has been left out of the starting side in the last few matches, trained in the centre of defence although Culina was hesitant to confirm if he would be in the starting line-up on Friday night.

"Angelo is always an option for us. He has got the experience and the knowledge so hopefully if required we can tap into that," he said.

"The senior players are the ones who have to step up in games like these. Derby games you have to go with people you feel has the experience and people you feel can do the job in those conditions."