D'Apuzzo to steel Jets' defence

Jets defender Adam D'Apuzzo is hopeful his return can bring some stability to the Newcastle defence heading into their crucial Hyundai A-League fixture against the Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday.

Jets defender Adam D'Apuzzo is hopeful his return can bring some stability to the Newcastle defence heading into their crucial Hyundai A-League fixture against the Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday.

D'Apuzzo has been sidelined with an ankle injury suffered in the 3-1 win over the Fury in Townsville three weeks ago but has been cleared to travel to Wellington for Sunday's clash.

He believes he can help firm up a leaky Jets defence that has conceded seven goals in their past two matches.

"I can still feel a bit of a niggle in my ankle but it is not enough to rule me out of this weekend's game," D'Apuzzo told Sportal.

"I just want to add back what we had earlier and get our structure back and get the defence back in order which was the strong point of our game this season."

"As long as I can add to that and make sure we are right defensively I will be happy."

The 24-year-old defender admitted the Jets have not had a good record against the Phoenix but believed the importance of the game, with both teams needing a win to jump back into the top six, will spur his side on.

"I don't think Wellington is a happy hunting ground for any team but the position we are in we have to make it our ground on Sunday," he said.

"We have to lift and know that we have a lot to play for - we are only a few points out of the six - so we have a lot to play for. "

"The boys looked sharp in training this week - there was a lot of talking and yelling which is always a good sign and was completely different to last week's training so I hope it is a sign that we have stepped it up."