COACH Phil Stubbins declared the Jets’ plan is to recruit international and Australian marquees next season and they will spend the entire $2.55million salary cap to lift themselves out of the A-League cellar.
Two victories in 24 games has left the Jets at the bottom of the ladder with three games remaining.
The Jets have been reduced to a threadbare squad since Stubbins oversaw a clean-out of five senior players and four support staff in January.
On Friday night the Jets face competition leaders Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park in a mismatch in quality and experience.
In recent months Stubbins, who is increasingly under pressure from disillusioned supporters, has promised all attempts would be made to turn the club into a force next season.
On Thursday, the embattled coach said Jets owner Nathan Tinkler had agreed to provide him with the finances needed to put together a winning squad.
‘‘We’ll definitely be going for a marquee, possibly two if we can get hold of the right one, who is Australian as well,’’ Stubbins said.
‘‘We’ll be filling the roster and maxing out the salary cap.
‘‘We need to do it in a way that we’re effectively spending our money and putting a squad and team together again that can play possession-based football, can press when it needs to, can score when it needs to score and can also be defensively strong.’’
The Jets have not employed a marquee player, whose wages are outside the salary cap, since former English Premier League striker Emile Heskey completed his two-year stint last season.
Winger Ryan Griffiths was the last Australian marquee in 2012-13.
Tinkler’s stressed financial position has been well documented, including a garnishee order that allows the Australian Tax Office to intercept the monthly grant the club receives from FFA.
This has resulted in players and staff being paid late in the past two monthly wage cycles.
Stubbins said finding a midfielder or striker would be the focus of his marquee recruitment.
‘‘We’ve got Ki-je Lee and Nigel Boogaard signed and Daniel Mullen is another that’s been documented as close to being over the line,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got enough covering at the back and obviously the midfield and going forward with some cutting edge, that’s what we need to look at.
‘‘We need to be a team that is able to score goals and get on the front foot, not only being strong defensively, but able to score goals as well.’’
Scoring goals has been a major problem all season.
The Jets have been kept scoreless in their past two games and have struck only twice in their last six A-League matches.
Their 18 goals from 24 games is the worst strike rate in the competition and four fewer than the next club, Central Coast.
At the other end, they have conceded a league-high 49 goals. On Friday night they face the league’s most potent attacking unit.
The Victory have netted 50 goals and boast a triple threat up front in Besart Berisha (11 goals), Archie Thompson (nine) and Gui Finkler (seven).
‘‘We’ve got everything to prove, and to ourselves, that we have the intent in the group to try our very best and win the game,’’ Stubbins said.
‘‘We’re not going to go there fearful of what they’ve got.’’
The Jets will be light on experience for the Victorian trip.
Senior midfielders Zenon Caravella (ankle strain) and Ben Kantarovski (groin) are ruled out with injuries and will be replaced by Allan Welsh and Jacob Pepper.
There were initial fears Caravella may miss the remaining two games, but after visiting sports doctor Neil Halpin on Thursday afternoon, he is now expected to return to training on Monday.