You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kokko to miss Jets' clash with Phoenix

AAP logoAAP 24/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko will take no part in Newcastle's Boxing Day A-League clash against Wellington, with coach Mark Jones preferring the he regains match fitness in the youth league.

Kokko was expected to return for Monday's match at McDonald Jones Stadium a little over a month after having surgery on his broken jaw.

But despite being pleased the 29-year-old was "starting to look sharper", Jones indicated he wouldn't be rushed back and risked after playing just 157 minutes in his first season.

"It's probably a case of Kokko getting a game in the youth team," Jones said.

"He needs to get match fit and sometimes you need to play in the youth team to do that."

Jones revealed he would name an unchanged starting line-up to face the Phoenix, reluctant to alter a winning side after two on the bounce against Perth and Adelaide.

The sixth-placed Jets are now in the hunt for their first treble of victories since November 2013.

The club's longest winning streak is four games, which came during their 2007-08 championship-winning campaign and again in November and December of 2009.

"We're trying to break records this year," Jones said.

"The more we break, the higher up the table we'll finish."

Wellington have enjoyed a mini-resurgence since coach Ernie Merrick's resignation, with interim bosses Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham yet to taste defeat in their two games in charge.

Sitting two points outside the top six with a game in hand, the New Zealand-based team can displace the Jets with a victory.

Jones was wary of the Phoenix's attacking prowess and dismissed suggestions the travel would leave their opponents at a disadvantage.

"Flying to Perth was supposed to be a dramatic trip for us, and the stats said we shouldn't have won but we did," he said.

"It's the same for Wellington. They're used to travelling and I'm sure they'll have their preparation right."

STATS PACK:

* Newcastle have won three of their last four home games against Wellington including the last two, scoring three or more goals in each

* The Phoenix triumphed in three of their last four away games against NSW opposition

* Jack Duncan has made all 39 of the Jets' saves - the most of any goalkeeper in the league

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon