Newcastle Jets boss Mark Jones believes his side can stop the Melbourne Victory juggernaut in their Hyundai A-League clash in Geelong on Monday.
Victory tore Central Coast Mariners to shreds 4-1 on Wednesday night to round out 2016 in convincing fashion, however Jones’ Jets have gained seven points from the last possible nine.
Given their form leading into 2017, the Jets are confident they will present a sterner test for the boys in navy blue at Simonds Stadium.
“They (Melbourne Victory) are obviously very, very dangerous and we are aware of that,” Jones told reporters on Thursday.
“Victory and Sydney FC have probably been the two toughest teams that we have played against.”
“(But) I think you have got an opportunity on the counter. They are a good defensive team but they haven’t got them same record as Sydney FC defensively, so you have got to back yourself to score and we have got enough firepower to provide them with some danger.”
“Our confidence is right up there. I think the game against Perth (away) showed that we can beat anyone.
"Everyone was saying at the start of the year that Perth would be one of the top four sides, and they have probably got a squad that at some point may figure in that top four if they get things right.”
“If we keep more ball possession against both Melbourne and Brisbane (round 14) then I think we are a good chance of competing well in the games.”
Jones’ side has been rejuvenated over recent weeks with several key players returning from injury.
Daniel Mullen and Andrew Nabbout have now featured in three consecutive games, while Danish dynamo Morten Nordstrand has made an impact in the last two matches from the bench.
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While Jones described captain Nigel Boogaard as a “fifty-fifty” proposition to feature against Victory due to an ankle complaint, he said it is possible Finnish attacker Aleksandr Kokko could return to his matchday squad against the Melburnians.
“It looks like he (Kokko) is getting his fitness back and he might sneak his way back into the squad,” Jones said.
“Morten (Nordstrand) has been back for a few weeks now and has contributed well and we need to get something from Kokko. He is a big player and he needs to show us that.”
Like in Perth on December 10 the Jets will need to rewrite some Hyundai A-League history if they are to claim maximum points against Victory in Geelong.
Melbourne Victory have won every one of their eight (8) games played on a Monday night across Hyundai A-League history, while the Jets have never won in their nine (9) Monday fixtures.
Jones said facing Victory away from their usual home of AAMI Park could be somewhat of a leveller: “It’s not such an advantage for them because they haven’t played their (Simonds Stadium) regularly.”