After a bruising week on the injury front, Newcastle Jets will seek inspiration from their devastating injury list as they seek to topple reigning Hyundai A-League champions Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
And this will be the Jets' biggest test so far after a Round 1 win away in Wellington and a heart-breaking - and bruising - loss to Sydney FC last Saturday.
A flying Victory outfit with the likes of Besart Berisha, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Gui Finkler have set the benchmark in the league and are coming off a thrilling Melbourne Derby win.
While well aware of the challenge that awaits his side, Jets midfielder Mateo Poljak says there’ll be no fear and has no doubt the Jets’ spirit and energy can stand up to the Victory juggernaut.
“They [Victory] are probably the best side in the competition and I know they have really good tradition with Newcastle,” the Croatian-born midfielder and off-season buy from Western Sydney told www.a-league.com.au
“It’s going to be a good one and we’re not going into that game with mindset of defending or trying to get a point.
"You can defend, defend but if you don’t score you won’t get points. The club is in the stage of rebuilding and I think patience is crucial as well.”
“Every game we will try to win, that’s what our mentality is and that’s what we’re going to take into this one and give your best, leave everything out there and hopefully what’s enough.
“They have a lot of dangerous players, they play good as a team.
“We have to stick to our plan and try to improve because if you look at statistics, and I’m not a huge fan of statistics, but we have improved from week one to the Sydney game and if we improve a bit more against Victory we have a very good chance to win.”
It’s been a trying week for the club after the defeat to the Sky Blues, especially in the injury department.
Left-back Lee Ki-Je and Andy Brennan are already sidelined, with goalkeeper Mark Birighitti joining them after his horrible facial injuries sustained after copping a stray boot in the mouth.
And to cap it all off the versatile Labinot Haliti was on Wednesday ruled out for the rest of the season after having surgery on a ruptured ACL.
Poljak hopes this will be another motivating factor: to win for the guys who've endured a horror week on the treatment table.
“It was a big surprise and very sad news. No one expected it because that tackle in the game didn’t really look dangerous but you never know what’s going to happen,” Poljak said of Haliti’s injury.
“It’s a huge blow for us. He was there for a long time now and he was a guy that can play a lot of positions up front and we were depending on him in tough situations.
“But that’s sport. As much as we’re going to miss him there’s young boys that will have a chance now and it’s up to them to take their chance and replace him as best as they can.
“[Birighitti] is good. He’s so positive. He’s with us, he’s training…it looked ugly but he’s doing well.”