Culina ramps up pressure

Jets coach Branko Culina believes the pressure will be on the Wellington Phoenix when the two teams meet in a crucial Hyundai A-League clash at the 'cake tin' on Sunday afternoon.

Jets coach Branko Culina believes the pressure will be on the Wellington Phoenix when the two teams meet in a crucial Hyundai A-League clash at the 'cake tin' on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams are in a race for the top six with Wellington sitting one point out of the six in seventh spot on 32 points with the Jets a point behind on 31 points in eighth.

But Culina believes the fact the Jets have a game in hand over their NZ counterparts will put the pressure on Wellington.

"I think the pressure is on them - they will be more desperate than us because we have an extra game on them they will feel at home that they have to win to have a chance to make the six," Culina said.

"I watched the game between Brisbane and wellington and the commentator said that Ricky Herbert was keeping one eye on the Brisbane match and one eye on Newcastle match."

"I thought that was very interesting because if you start looking too far ahead you can get in trouble. You have to always prepare for the game directly in front of you. "

Culina admitted the trip to Wellington has not always been a successful one for the Jets. In fact, they have only won once in five trips across the Tasman and were thumped 4-0 by the Phoenix earlier this season.

But the Newcastle coach believes that Sunday's game could be a turning point in the clashes between the teams.

"If we are going to make the finals we have to get something from difficult situations and Sunday's game is a difficult situation," Culina said.

"We are up against a form team and we haven't won there for a long time, if at all, and they are in direct competition for a top six spot. If you get a result in those types of games it gives you an enormous boost for the games thereafter."

"The players realise the importance of this game and how important this game is to us making the top six."

The Jets will go into the game without key midfielders Kasey Wehrman and Ruben Zadkovich but will be boosted by the return of defender Adam D'Apuzzo, who has overcome an ankle injury.

However the Newcastle side will still contain a number of youth league players.

"You only have to look to see how our defence was when we had our best defence available - we had the best defence in the league," Culina said.

"But having said that, defence it is not only about the back four, but certainly their experience and stability will be vital."

"But we are confident. I have never gone into any game, even when we have half our youth team in the starting 11, that we couldn't win."