Smeltz under injury cloud

Gold Coast United's excitement surrounding Saturday night's free admission match against the Newcastle Jets at Skilled Park has been tempered somewhat by a fitness cloud hovering over prolific marksman Shane Smeltz.

Gold Coast United's excitement surrounding Saturday night's free admission match against the Newcastle Jets at Skilled Park has been tempered somewhat by a fitness cloud hovering over prolific marksman Shane Smeltz.

The New Zealand international hadn't played since October before securing the switch from Turkey to his old stomping ground on the Gold Coast and the effect of rushing him in for two games in under a week has resulted in calf soreness that may see him miss Saturday's flood relief extravaganza.

But the Jets will not be given a reprieve with Joel Porter on the road to recovery from his own injury woes, and coach Miron Bleiberg assuring that either he or Smeltz will play.

"Smeltzy hasn't played since October and we sent him straight to work. He worked an eight-hour shift on Friday and another eight-hour shift on Wednesday and it's taken its toll on him," Bleiberg said.

"If we push him into playing three games in a week after not playing for a while and it causes damage, then he will be weak for longer. We're trying to avoid it so we'll give him until late tomorrow."

"I'm trying not to push Porter either because I want him to be fully fit but if we have any problems with Smeltzy, Porter will play. Porter is on the way up and Smeltzy is on the way down. Between them we will find a solution. One of them will play."

Bleiberg's strike force will be filled out by either one of exciting youngsters Chris Harold or Ben Halloran, with the Gold Coast boss looking to attack Newcastle from the get go in pursuit of three crucial points in the three-way battle for second position on the ladder.

It is a reasonable strategy from Bleiberg given that while the Jets' defence is tight, it may be exposed by pace as the back four will be lacking the departed Ljubo Milicevic, who has been a defensive rock for the Hunter club all season.

"I very much believe in pace," Bleiberg said. "I felt that in the game against Heart, because Chris Harold was injured we lacked a bit of pace, so either Chris Harold or Ben Halloran will play in this game. In this case when we play at home, we like to play a high-tempo game and that's why I like the pace."

"It's a different style of game at home and we can't even contemplate anything but three points. From the moment the referee blows the whistle every second is counting against us. I want pace, sharpness, a lot of strikers and I want to attack."