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Jones still eyeing A-League finals

AAP logoAAP 2/01/2017 Ben McKay

Newcastle Jets are planning to trade their way into the A-League finals, with coach Mark Jones confirming the club will be active participants in the transfer window.

But there could be player losses to come during January's open market, as rival clubs eye the Jets' top talent.

Monday night's 4-2 loss to Melbourne Victory showcased both the potential and the shortcomings of the Jets.

Up front, they continued to find the back of the net, scoring twice and coming close to adding to that tally.

Down back, it was a different story.

The Jets failed to deal with Victory's attacking movement, with Jones lashing their second-half defending.

The first-year coach said the club would be "100 per cent" involved in player movement.

"There are probably a couple of positions we can strengthen and I'd like to strengthen not only the attack but the defence," he said.

"We've got room for at least two. We've cleared the way for at least two and maybe more."

Without mentioning names, Jones also confirmed players could be leaving the Hunter.

"There's obviously interest from overseas and other clubs in some of our players," he said.

"We'd be prepared to maybe let somebody else go if we can find the right replacement."

In Geelong, the Jets weren't helped by a series of 50-50 calls from referee Chris Beath that didn't go their way.

A first-half penalty for handball was awarded to Melbourne Victory after Fahid Ben Khalfallah's cross struck John Koutroumbis's shoulder.

In the second half, a dinked ball from short-range clearly struck Carl Valeri's outstretched hand but Victory didn't pay a similar price.

Jones said it was a game-changer.

"Referees are going to make mistakes and unfortunately it has completely affected a game. It's not debatable. One was a pen and one wasn't," he said.

Despite the loss, Jones said he would continue to direct his sides to take on rivals and is remaining upbeat.

"You saw tonight we can play football that's worthy of us being the top six," he said.

"We'll score goals and we'll score goals against the best sides in the league. We just need to defensively tighten things up."

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