Newcastle are determined to stop Melbourne Heart’s winning streak and they’re prepared to get ruthless to do it.
Newcastle are prepared to get ruthless to halt Melbourne Heart’s winning streak on Saturday as both sides vie for an A-League finals spot.
The Heart’s resurgence continued last week with an impressive 4-0 thumping of Melbourne Victory, their fifth straight win finally lifting them off the foot of the ladder and within just four points of a finals spot.
The Jets, however, have also claimed some notable scalps, having beaten reigning premiers Western Sydney and frontrunners Brisbane in the last three rounds.
They now sit just two points clear of the Heart in eighth place with only six games remaining before the finals.
They last time the two teams met in round 15, the Heart finally posted their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory – an exact reverse of the result at Hunter Stadium just weeks earlier.
Jets striker Adam Taggart, who netted a hat-trick that day, says memories of that game will fuel his side.
“The last time they came here, they lost 3-1 so it would be nice to keep that thought in the back of our minds so we go into the game with confidence,” he said.
“We seem to do well against teams who have a bit of momentum.
“We’ve got to have that do-or-die altitude now, we’ve got six games to go and we want to get into the finals.
“So we’ll be going up against Melbourne Heart with absolute ruthlessness.”
Jets coach Clayton Zane fielded a very attacking line-up last week with Taggart, Emile Heskey and Joel Griffiths all playing havoc with the Wanderers’ defence.
Taggart netted his 10th goal to join Heart’s David Williams among the league’s top scorers.
But the striker is confident he can get one over Williams on Saturday.
“I’ve got all faith in our defence to keep him away from that goal,” he said.
“Hopefully if we put in a similar performance to last week, I don’t see why I won’t have enough chances to try and put a few away.”
While Jets have struggled at home this season, only winning two of their 10 games at Hunter Stadium, one team they do have success over is the Heart, who have never beaten them in Newcastle.
“At home we’ve played against them and won but away we’ve never won against them so it’s going to be a tough game,” Heart coach John van ‘t Schip said.
“We’ve started winning but it’s still a long, long way to say that we have a team that can beat anybody anywhere.”