The Newcastle Jets youth team will look to move to the top of the NBN State League ladder when they take on Edgeworth Eagles at Jack McLaughlin Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets are caught in a four-way battle for the minor-premiership with three rounds of the competition remaining.
Hamilton Olympic are currently in first place on 33 points, with the Jets and Broadmeadow Magic next in line on 32 points. Charlestown City are in fourth place on 31 points.
Jets coach Clayton Zane said the run into the finals would prove to be an interesting challenge for the young Jets.
“Obviously we’re trying to play our own brand of football, but we want to finish at the top of the table as well,” he said.
“If we don’t have a good finish to the season, we’ll only just scrape into the finals and we want to be going into those matches with momentum.
“One of our aims at the start of the season was to finish as high as possible and that’s part of the players’ learning curve along with everything else we’re teaching them.”
Edgeworth are undefeated in eight matches and have won three in a row. They currently sit in fifth place on 23 points, and are in a tight battle for the last remaining finals spot with South Cardiff.
Zane said he expected the Eagles to provide the Jets with a stern test.
“I think it’s good for our boys to play against a team who are desperate for points and they almost need to win all three of their remaining games to help them make the finals,” he explained.
“You would think that Edgeworth would be looking to play a pretty open style of football because they need to win.
“Obviously they beat us the last time we played, so there’s a couple of reasons there why our boys will need to be at the top of their game.”
After international duty and suspension had left his side without a specialist goalkeeper for the past two games, Zane said he was looking forward to having regular number one, Jack Duncan back in goals.
“We’ve got Jack Duncan back and hopefully that will settle a few nerves at the back,” he said.
“Obviously the back four will feel a bit more secure having a specialist goalkeeper in there and although Sam Gallaway did a good job for us last week, we’re happy to welcome Jack back.”
NBN State League
Newcastle Jets Youth Team v Edgeworth Eagles
Jack McLaughlin Oval
Sunday, July 29