INFLUENTIAL import Francis Jeffers says the Jets have rediscovered their self-belief and are ready to show their true colours during the race for the A-League play-offs.
Second-last on the ladder two weeks ago, the Jets have resurrected their campaign with a draw against Adelaide and wins against Brisbane and Sydney, all on the road, to climb into the top six.
And Jeffers, the former Everton, Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday target man, has no doubt the best is yet to come from Newcastle, who are eager to make amends after missing the finals last season.
‘‘Results breed confidence and I genuinely believe that now we will start to show what a good team we are,’’ he told the Newcastle Herald yesterday.
‘‘We’ve got good players in defence and attack ... this team is flooded with ability.
‘‘You tend not to see that when results aren’t going your way. But the last couple of games, we’ve started to come out of our shell.
‘‘And watching the football show on Fox last night, people are starting to talk about us as major contenders for the finals, which is nice.’’
Jeffers said that during Newcastle’s lean run in December and January he repeatedly delivered a straightforward message to his young teammates: ‘‘Keep believing.’’
The 31-year-old former England international was adamant that hard yards on the training pitch would eventually pay dividends.
‘‘Having been at Everton, where we needed to win three of our last five games to stay in the Premier League, I’d sort of been through something similar,’’ he said.
‘‘What tends to happen is that when people write you off, you come together as a group.
‘‘I told the lads there was no need to panic. Just keep believing. When we do win a couple of games, people will see a big difference in this team. And hopefully now we’ve turned the corner.’’
When he arrived for a guest stint with Newcastle last season, Jeffers inspired the Jets to five wins and two draws from his first seven matches.
But once he returned to England, the injury-hit Jets slumped to finish with the also-rans.
‘‘You can never really pick and choose when you go on these runs,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re not really on a run yet – we’ve only won two away games on the spin, which this club should be doing anyway – but hopefully it’s the start of a good run.
‘‘We’ve got a big game this week against Melbourne Heart, which gives us a chance to go above them.’’
Jeffers was confident Newcastle ‘‘can beat anyone’’.
‘‘When we’re controlling the game, as we did against Sydney for about half an hour, how good is that to watch?
‘‘Everyone says Brisbane play a good style of football, but when we control the game, we can play like that too and score good goals.’’