Underdog tag suits Jets

Newcastle defender Tarek Elrich says the Jets have welcomed the underdog tag heading into Saturday night's sudden-death Hyundai A-League semi-final against the Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

Newcastle defender Tarek Elrich says the Jets have welcomed the underdog tag heading into Saturday night's sudden-death Hyundai A-League semi-final against the Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

The Jets head into the match as rank outsiders after a spate of injuries to key players including striker Michael Bridges as well four straight losses, but Elrich believes it is premature to write off the Newcastle club.

"We don't mind letting all the other teams taking the credit and the media spotlight we like to stay low-key and when odds are against us we tend to produce our best," he said.

"I don't want to jinx ourselves but hopefully we can go out there, take each game as it comes and play every game as if it will be our last and see if we can turn it around from four losses to four wins."

"The 27 games that you play throughout the season just go out the window and it is just up to you on the day. The better team will hopefully win."

Bridges, who broke down in training this week, is the latest casualty, joining marquee player Fabio Vignaroli (knee) and teenager Ben Kantarovski (hamstring) on the sidelines.

However striker Sean Rooney, defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse and Korean import Jin-Hyung Song all expected to return from injury while forward Labinot Haliti is available after serving a one-match suspension and Elrich believes the returning personnel can carry the Jets to victory.

"At the end of the day it is finals football and the last thing on your mind is injuries," Elrich said.

"I don't remember a game where I have been 110 percent, I am always carrying some sort of niggle or tightness or a cork but that is part of our sport and that is why we are professional athletes because you can play through those pain barriers."

"But we have beaten them (the Gold Coast) twice this season at home and we lost away to them after a short turn-around from a midweek game so hopefully with a week of preparation we can get as many of our players on the pitch and get a result."

In a boost for team morale Kantarovski and skipper Matt Thompson were named in a 25-man Socceroos squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifier against Indonesia next month.

"The call-up for both Matt and Ben is certainly a wonderful reward for their efforts throughout this season and we wish them nothing but the best as they look to don and green and gold in the coming weeks," said Jets CEO John Tsatsimas.

"Obviously between now and then our club will play in a crucial knockout finals match which will take place on the Gold Coast this Saturday night. So we hope that the selection of these boys will serve to lift the entire squad as they travel north with the hopes and dreams of all Novocastrians."