THEY have not won in six games and have a crippling injury toll, but Newcastle Jets coach Mark Jones has urged fans not to give up on his embattled side.
The Jets slumped to a fourth loss in five games, going down 2-0 to competition heavyweights Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday.
In a double whammy, Danish striker Morten Nordstrand suffered discomfort in his hip flexor and didn’t return after half-time.
The 33-year-old will have scans on Monday and is in doubt for the visit by runaway leaders Sydney FC on Sunday.
If ruled out, the former Danish international will increase the casualty list to eight, seven of whom are regulars.
The loss leaves the Jets treading water on six points. But such is the tight nature of the A-League they are only a win outside the top six.
Last season, the Jets won three of the opening four rounds before enduring a 10-game winless streak. They staged a late revival to finish eighth on 30 points and without finals football for a sixth straight year. Victory were sixth last season on 41 points.
“We still want to be in the top six,” a determined Jones said. “You change a couple of results and we are clearly in the six. We have played good football, have been in games and, although we have started slow, we have given ourselves an opportunity in every game to get a result. We will keep trying to play that style of football and the results will come our way when we play 90 minutes of disciplined football.”
Saturday’s loss typified the Jets’ season. Undermanned, they fought hard, were in the match for large periods but paid the price for lapses in concentration.
“Melbourne Victory are a very good football team,” Jones said. “We had seven, eight players out and I thought we put out a decent performance apart from five minutes. We can’t do that. We can’t switch off.”
After scores were locked at nil-nil at half-time, Marco Rojas scored two goals in two minutes to sink the visitors.
The Jets fought hard to get back onto the game and were unlucky not to grab a goal back. Jason Hoffman had a shot cleared off the line and could also have been awarded a penalty.
“I think we have held ourselves well and been in every game we have played in,” Jones said.
“We probably should have picked up five more points than we have got and then we are in a different situation.
“We should have got points against Melbourne City (2-1 loss), we should have beaten Central Coast (1-all) last week and today was disappointing that we didn’t get something out of the game.”
Jones said Nordstrand felt his hip flexor late in the first half and was replaced more as precaution.
“We will find out Monday the full extent of it,” he said. “All of the injuries, apart from Morten, have been contact ones and unavoidable. His is something that perhaps is an overuse thing. Morten is 33.”
Labinot Haliti, who scored a goal for the youth league in a 2-all draw with Central Coast on Saturday, is likely to come into the side if Nordstrand is out.
“Labi scored a goal in youth league on Saturday and is one who is fit,” Jones said