Jets aim to hold firm

Newcastle assistant coach Mark Jones has nominated the first half hour of play as crucial for the Jets in the do-or-die Hyundai A-League minor semi-final against the Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday.

Newcastle assistant coach Mark Jones has nominated the first half hour of play as crucial for the Jets in the do-or-die Hyundai A-League minor semi-final against the Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday.

Jones said the Jets, who have one of the worst defensive records in the league - leaking 45 goals this season, must maintain a clean sheet for most of the opening half to have any chance of getting a result in Wellington.

"It is important that we keep that shape especially for the first 30 minutes," Jones said.

"It is important that we don't break down in the first 30 minutes and basically making sure in a nutshell that we have a system of play that we follow."

The Jets have not enjoyed their trips across the Tasman in recent times and were soundly beaten 3-0 in a midweek clash against the Phoenix in December. In an endeavour to upend that result the Newcastle side flew to Wellington on Thursday to try to acclimatise to the surroundings before Sunday's sudden death clash.

We haven't had a very successful time of it in New Zealand so maybe we will try something different this time around," he said. "So maybe we just need to take a different approach and make sure we get a better result."

"The boys will take their time in the morning and loosen up. Then we are going to train twice there this time and then play the game."

"We just need to ensure we have a little bit of acclimatising and aware of the foundation they are going to play in."

Jones also singled out former Newcastle Jets player Tim Brown for special attention.

"Obviously we need to do the little things right and things like pulling Browny (Tim Brown) in."

"And we need to make sure our players are well practised and make sure we are mentally prepared."