Santa’s warning: Wanderers cautious of ‘hurt’ Jets

Goal-scorer Brendon Santalab says his high-flying Western Sydney side are wary of a desperate Newcastle Jets in their Christmas Eve clash at Wanderland.

The league-leaders will start hot favourites to give their fans an early Christmas present with the visitors struggling without a win in seven games.

While the Red and Black have been exceptional this season, it was a different story last campaign as they managed just four wins for the season.

So Santalab knows what the Jets are going through.

"There's a lot of negatives about not winning," the striker told reporters on Monday.

"The team confidence is hurt straight away.

“The longer it goes on the harder it is to break that losing streak."

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For that reason, the Wanderers are expecting a fired-up Jets side at Pirtek Stadium on Thursday night.

Tony Popovic’s side saw their winning streak brought to an end at seven matches on Saturday night, held to a 2-2 draw in Perth by the Glory.

"We were disappointed that we didn't beat Perth over there," said Santalab, who scored the Wanderers first goal in his first start of the season.

"Our winning run came to an end, which for us is a bit disappointing. But we didn't lose, and that's the main thing.

"We take a lot of confidence from that game into the Newcastle game."

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Santalab was handed his first start after Mark Bridge was ruled out through injury, with marquee striker Federico Piovaccari starting off the bench in his return from injury.

"It's been a long time, so there's a lot of room for improvement there," Santalab said of his rare chance from the start.

"It's different starting than coming off the bench…and I have been regularly coming off the bench.

"I want to continue to start, and push for a starting spot week in, week out."