Jets right in the A-League mix: Merrick

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    Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes his side have the “ingredients” to challenge for silverware this season after an unbeaten opening six rounds in the A-League.

    The Jets’ latest triumph was a 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday which saw Newcastle temporarily take top spot with four wins and two draws.

    Merrick drew similarities between the Jets’ current opening and that of the 2006-07 Melbourne Victory side, who won their first seven matches before going on the claim the championship.

    “I do see the right ingredients,” he said.

    “When I won my first championship I think we went the first seven games not only undefeated, I think we won all seven.

    “I think you’ve got to have a good start.”

    Merrick stopped short of declaring his side among the favourites, citing squad depth as a potential obstacle should Newcastle be hit with injuries.

    With star import Ronald Vargas sidelined for an extensive period, Merrick hinted further casualties would impact the Jets’ chances of claiming silverware.

    “The difference is I don’t know if we’ve got the depth when it counts,” he said.

    “The last three or four games of the year and then finals you’ve got to have players fit and ready to go.”

    Merrick also hosed down recent speculation the club was looking at signing Nathan Burns.

    The Socceroo enjoyed a brief loan spell with the Jets in the 2013-14 campaign before winning the Johnny Warren Medal under Merrick at Wellington Phoenix in the following season.

    The Newcastle tactician did hint the club would look at reinforcements in the January transfer window should the need arise.

    “There’s talk about us signing Nathan Burns, we’re not going to sign Nathan Burns,” he said.

    “But in the January window we’ll have a look and see if a quality player becomes available.

    “I think our owner would be open to signing a player at that stage given that we’ve gone so long without Vargas.”

    © AAP 2017