Jets turn to youth

The Newcastle Jets will head in to Saturday night's crucial Hyundai A-League clash against the North Queensland Fury prepared for the monsoonal conditions.

The Newcastle Jets will head in to Saturday night's crucial Hyundai A-League clash against the North Queensland Fury prepared for the monsoonal conditions.

The tropical town of Townsville has been deluged over the past 48 hours resulting in a potential boggy, heavy pitch for the Round 25 clash and Culina has taken the opportunity to bring in some youth with youngsters Jason Hoffman and Kaz Patafta included in a 16-man squad at the expense of veterans Sasho Petrovski and Angelo Costanzo.

"In those conditions over there, you'd think that at their age it's going to be a little bit difficult," Culina said. "So we've gone with a little bit of youth."

"We are a ball-playing side and if it is going to be a wet, heavy pitch it might make it a bit difficult for us but we will wait and see."

"I think the pitch is in pretty good nick, so it would have to cut up pretty significtantly, but if it is a different pitch to what we they have normally we may have to adjust."

Culina said Hoffman, who has signed to play with new A-league franchise the Melbourne Heart next season, could be the trump card in the Jets pack despite only playing a handful of games this season.

"Jason gives you options and is also versatile enough to play a number of different positions," he said.

"I think we want to be as flexible as we can during the game and we have had enough experience throughout the year to be able to do that."

"You want to give the players every opportunity to get accustomed to each other but we all know that the game changes during the course of the game you just can't keep going with it."

The Newcastle boss also said the Jets would be looking to tighten their defence against a Fury side containing the attacking skills of Robbie Fowler and Dyron Daal. Despite sitting in fourth spot on the ladder, Newcastle has one of the worst for and against records in the league and have already conceded 38 goals this season.

"I think we have all identified that if you want to be a top team, particularly in the finals you can't concede too many goals," he said.

"You are not going to go out there in every game and score 3 or four goals to win a game so we have to concede less and put the pressure the attack a little bit more."