New faces lift Jets as Fornaroli’s City loom

Defender Daniel Mullen says Newcastle’s new signings such as Danish international Morten Nordstrand have lifted the team’s level ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Hyundai A-League’s deadliest strike force.

The Jets host free-scoring Melbourne City at Hunter Stadium, the same venue where City cruised to a 4-0 belting earlier this season.

And Newcastle is bracing for another potential onslaught from the competition’s highest scorers.

Mullen, skipper Nigel Boogaard, Jason Hoffman and Co. have the unenviable task of trying to shut down City’s lethal duo of Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo.

Fornaroli – the league’s top scorer – has 14 goals for the campaign, one more than the entire Jets squad combined, while Novillo has netted five times in his last four outings.

Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli celebrates scoring against the Phoenix in Round 16.

“Fornaroli’s a special player, they’ve got a few like him,” Mullen told reporters on Tuesday.

“Novillo’s got that speed. If you let him get his head up and run at you, he’s going to be dangerous.

“Fornaroli is different again. He’s one who likes to use his body and sort of pin defenders and try and roll them.

“It’s just about getting their head down and not giving them too much time on the ball, because when they’ve got time and space they’re dangerous.”

While star David Carney has left the Jets, Mullen is hopeful new signings Steven Ugarkovic and Morten Nordstrand can make their mark on the side. 

The pair had a taste off the bench in the 1-0 loss to Adelaide last weekend but could be unleashed from the start against John van ‘t Schip’s side.

“They’ve been good for us,” Mullen said of the new recruits. 

“They’ve lifted the standard at training already.”

Daniel Mullen and Mitch Cooper.

The Jets haven’t given up hope of pushing for a finals berth but are currently 10 points behind sixth-placed Adelaide United with 10 games remaining.

A win against City – coupled with a loss for Wellington against Perth – would see Scott Miller’s side jump up to eighth spot.