BATTLING AWAY: Francis Jeffers contests possession with Pascal Bosschaart. — Picture by DARREN PATEMANJETS coach Gary van Egmond admits a formation change could be required to get the best out of English striker Francis Jeffers after Saturday’s demoralising 2-1 loss to Sydney FC at Ausgrid Stadium.
After opening the scoring with a stunning Jeremy Brockie volley and dominating the first half, the Jets conceded soft goals in the 59th and 84th minutes to suffer their second defeat in as many weeks.
For pictures of the weekend’s game, click on the image below.
Adding to Newcastle’s woes, skipper Jobe Wheelhouse was sent off in the 85th minute for a second bookable offence and now faces a mandatory one-match suspension.
Van Egmond has favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation since he assumed the reins this season but now appears likely to revert to a 4-4-2 line-up.
‘‘What we’re going to have to do, and it’s more so my fault, we’re going to have to get someone up there to play alongside him,’’ van Egmond said.
‘‘As much as I love playing a certain system, I don’t think we probably might have the players here right at this moment, so we may change that … it’s more what we have to do for Francis to try and help him within the game, and that’s having more people in contact with him.’’
Asked who was likely to partner Jeffers up front, van Egmond replied: ‘‘We’ve got a number of players.
‘‘We’ve got Brockie, obviously, we’ve got Marko [Jesic] who can play in behind, you’ve got Ali [Abbas] who can play in behind, you’ve got Labinot [Haliti] up there, you’ve got Chris Payne, you’ve got Ryan [Griffiths].
‘‘There’s obviously a number of options.’’
Jeffers, the former Everton, Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday target man, had a talismanic influence when he joined the Jets on a guest stint last season, inspiring them to a seven-game unbeaten run.
But this season he is yet to find his feet. He has played 343 minutes in six games without producing a goal or an assist and missed a one-on-one chance on Saturday night.
Van Egmond felt the 30-year-old played ‘‘quite well’’ against Sydney before being replaced in the 59th minute and was not restricted by a groin injury that sidelined him recently.
‘‘He’s getting through training,’’ van Egmond said. ‘‘He’s working well. By his own admission, he feels a lot fitter than what he did last year.’’
Van Egmond said his players paid the price for being ‘‘lackadaisical’’ in the second half and allowing Sydney to seize the momentum.
‘‘There’s times we just play how individuals decide they want to play a little bit and you just can’t afford to do that with the type of game we’re looking to play … if certain players decide they want to play a certain way then it’s going to hurt you if you turn the ball over,’’ he said.