Jets ready for dogfight

Newcastle striker Labinot Haliti has said the Jets are prepared to do 'whatever it takes' to win their do-or-die Hyundai A-League semi-final against the Phoenix in Wellington next Sunday.

Newcastle striker Labinot Haliti has said the Jets are prepared to do 'whatever it takes' to win their do-or-die Hyundai A-League semi-final against the Phoenix in Wellington next Sunday.

Newcastle put in a gritty display to hold Gold Coast to a stalemate after 120 minutes of football and eventually upset its more fancied opponents 6-5 in a tense penalty shootout to set up the meeting with the Phoenix.

Haliti said Wellington could expect the same sort of determined effort from the Jets when the two sides clash in a sudden death clash at Westpac Stadium on March 7.

"They have got a lot of players from goalkeeper to up front," he said. "They have not got there by accident - they have been doing well all season and at home they have a good record and they are a good side."

"But it is semi-final football so it is anyone's game. We just have to turn up and be positive and think positive go for the result to go through. We need to do whatever it takes to go through."

Haliti admitted, however, the task is a daunting one. The Phoenix have not been defeated at the 'Cake Tin' since October 2008 in a Hyundai A-League record 18 unbeaten matches at home. And after a bumper crowd of 24,278 turned up for their penalty shootout win over Peth last weekend, the Phoenix are expecting an attendance in excess of 30,000 next Sunday.

"They have a good record at home but we have seen throughout the A-League that anyone can beat anyone," he said.

"We just have to go there with confidence. We have just come back from a big away win, so we just have to think positive and be positive."

"There is a bit of a buzz around the team and everyone is confident and working hard and we are all looking forward to the game as it is one of the most important games of the season."

In team news, a thigh injury to striker Michael Bridges will keep him out of the match, while Tarek Elrich and Jobe Wheelhouse have been rested from training this week due to respective groin injuries but the pair are likely to be fit for next weekend's match.

A major plus for the Novocastrians is the news that defensive midfielder Ben Kantarovski has overcome a hamstring injury and is set to take his place in the starting line-up.