CHIEF executive Lawrie McKinna insists the Jets are not after a "quick fix" but rather a long-term coach capable of rebuilding the club.
McKinna has whittled the "dozens of applicants" down to a shortlist of six, including three overseas-based coaches.
Interviews have begun and the Jets boss expects to have a replacement for Ernie Merrick, who had his contract terminated last week, locked in before the trip to Wellington on January 24.
"The quality of applicants has been very high and now it's a matter of working through the shortlist and seeing who best fits the club," McKinna said.
"There are three from overseas and three local.
"We want someone who is experienced as a coach and also someone who understands the salary cap and the restrictions you have with it. It is not just about saying we need that player, go and get him. It has to work within the salary cap and the budget.
"They need a realistic expectation of the budget as well. We will be totally up front. That is not having a go at [owner] Martin Lee. That is all the clubs now. Everyone is watching the numbers.
"Some of the big names who have been mentioned have worked with huge budgets at every club they have been at.
"We want someone willing to work hard, who has different ideas and enjoys being in Newcastle and coaching the club. We want them to build something that they can be proud of and we can be proud of."
The Jets currently sit in last spot on nine points, six points outside the top six, and have lost five of the past six games.
They meet second-placed Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday.
With 14 games to play and 42 points available, McKinna remains hopeful of turning the season around and making a push for the finals.
"If someone comes in now, we are still a chance at the finals if we can get on a run," he said.
"There was an improvement the other night in the (2-1) loss to leaders Sydney and we still have a lot of room for improvement.
"We gave up a couple of soft goals but there was plenty of fight, plenty of effort.
"[Caretaker coach] Craig Deans has come in and has stabilised the ship and got a good response out of the boys. Now, we need to be better than that again."
Though refusing to give up on the current campaign, McKinna has started looking ahead to next season and said it was vital that a new coach was in place to help shape the club's direction.
"We could have waited until the end of the season," he said.
"By bringing in someone now, we can actually sort out the squad for down the track. This is the start of the building process. If we wait until the end of the season, the coach is inheriting a squad he had no say in. At the end of next season, we may have to start all over again.
"We are not after a short fix, we are looking for someone to be here a few years and can actually build something."
McKinna said Deans had been "doing a great job" but indicated that the interim coach had not expressed an interest in taking on the job full-time.
"He doesn't make a fuss, he comes in and goes about his business," McKinna said.
Meanwhile, a fringe Jets outfit went down 3-2 to Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG in a friendly at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday night. Kaine Sheppard scored both of the Jets' goals.
Shanghai, who boast Brazilian internationals Oscar and Hulk, are in camp in Sydney ahead of the new season.