Whether it's farewelling off-contract players or impressing for next season, Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans has called on his squad to harness their motivation for one last time and focus on beating A-League premiers Melbourne City to avoid the wooden spoon.
Senior trio Nigel Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Roy O'Donovan are among those yet to re-sign, meaning Thursday night's catch-up game behind closed doors in Sydney could be their last appearance for the club unless they score another deal.
For those staying on, such as Jason Hoffman and Jack Duncan, plus younger team members, like Archie Goodwin and Lucas Mauragis, the postponed fixture provides a chance to perform before the Jets appoint a new mentor with Deans announcing last week he would step down from the role.
Newcastle, who are coming off a draw and a win, need at least one point from the final match of the regular season to climb off the bottom of the competition ladder for 2020-21.
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"We haven't spoken about individual points to prove or collective points to prove, we spoke about going down there and just winning the game and finishing the season in the right way," Deans said after training at Ray Watt Oval on Wednesday.
"If we can finish the season with a couple of wins and a draw, it gets us off the bottom and sets some people up for next year.
"There will be people watching the game and wanting to see what certain players have got to bring to the table so there's lots of motivation for lots of different people.
"Everyone knows what their own motivation is so it's just a matter of harnessing all that, putting it together and the team being the most important thing on Thursday."
In terms of any potential departures, especially experienced campaigners, Deans said "it would be nice to send them out with a win if that's the way it's going to be".
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos will return from a calf injury to replace fellow striker Valentino Yuel, who has been called up for national team duty with South Sudan.
If the Jets lose at Kograh's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium they may need to back up for an FFA Cup qualifier on Monday.
The club is due to hold its presentation at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
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