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Jets aim to kick Nix while they're down

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016 Emma Kemp

Newcastle are intent on kicking Wellington while they're down to give themselves a boost back up the A-League ladder.

The Jets slipped from fourth to sixth after their first loss of the season, a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of leaders Sydney FC, and will attempt to bounce back on Saturday away to the Phoenix.

Defender Jason Hoffman remembered well how last campaign's promising start soon turned into a 10-match winless run and stressed the importance of rebounding quickly.

Despite the slump, they defeated Wellington in all three meetings.

And while Hoffman conceded it was never easy to travel across the ditch, he sensed there couldn't be a more ideal time than when Ernie Merrick's last-placed side were low on confidence after Monday's dismal 6-1 loss to Melbourne Victory.

"There's no better opportunity against a Wellington team who's bottom of a league, even though it's early days," Hoffman said.

"Wellington are unfortunate to be there; they should have probably got a result against Sydney at home the week before so we can't underestimate them.

"But it's extremely important for us to take this opportunity to keep them lower on the table and keep us in touch with the top."

The Jets' depleted defensive stocks will be stretched further with Ben Kantarovski likely to miss the next month with a torn meniscus.

With centre-backs Lachlan Jackson (ankle) and Daniel Mullen (knee) already out, coach Mark Jones faces a conundrum deciding who will partner captain Nigel Boogaard.

At the very least, Hoffman said Phoenix defender Dylan Fox's suspension for his red card against Victory would help even things up.

In other encouraging news, in-form winger Andrew Nabbout trained in part on Tuesday, a little more than a week after suffering a groin injury playing against Western Sydney.

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