A-League: Now or never for Jets’ finals hopes|video

BIG TEST: Jets fullback Jason Hoffman will have the job of keeping Phoenix danger man Kosta Barbarouses in check on Sunday. Picture: Getty ImagesNOW or never.That was the blunt message from coach Mark Jones as the Newcastle Jets headed across the Tasman to take on an under-manned Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.


Jones, with eight games remaining and Newcastlesitting on the edge of the six, predicted the Jetswould need to win another three games to make the play-offs.

They have since lost 1-0 to Adelaide, drew 1-all with the Mariners and suffered defeats to Brisbane (3-1) and Melbourne City (4-0).

The upshot is that Wanderers, who smashed City 3-1 on Friday night, are nine points clear of the Jets in sixth place. However the Jets have played one less game.

“We had eight games and we had to win three of those,” Jones said.“Now we are down to four games. The percentages are lower, but we have a great opportunity here to put pressure on Western Sydney.It is certainly not done yet.”

The Jets host Wanderers next before road trips to Central Coast and Sydney FC.

Wanderers, who also have Asian Champions League commitments, play the Jets (away, Melbourne Victory (home) and Adelaide (a).

No surprise that coach Mark Jones says it’s now or never for @NewcastleJetsFC. pic.twitter苏州美甲学校/Tcnlp6KdUV

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) March 24, 2017

But the run home will be of little importance if the Jets don’t get the job done against Wellington.

Phoenix, who sit a point above the Jets, have lost seven players to international duty.

Andrew Durante, GlenMoss, Shane Smeltz, Michael McGlinchey, Thomas Doyle and Alex Rufer will line up for New Zealand againstFiji in a World Cup qualifier inLautoka on Saturday.Phoenix striker Roy Krishna will lead Fiji’sattack.

“The Mariners played them in similar circumstances and got beat 2-0,” Jones said.“Sometimes people who have been given an opportunityplay better. It is still to our advantage. We have to be confident that we can get a result.”

The Jets paid the price for missing an early opportunity to score against City.

“We had a run away early on and a couple of other opportunities in the first half where we could have gotten something from it,” Jones said. “Again, story of our season, we don’t take our chances.People say we keep saying that, but it’s a fact. You have to take your chances.”

Jones appears set tweak his attack.

“Everyone has had an opportunity and the nine and ten positions haven’t produced enough goals for us,” he said. “I thought Morten came on last weekend and made some excellent runs.We are looking for him or [Aleksandr] Kokko –it doesn’t matter who –to put the ball in the back of the net.”