Hong Kong-based Aussie Josh Mitchell is excited about a reunion with old friends when he comes up against former Hyundai A-League club Newcastle Jets next week in China.
Mitchell, who plays with Eastern FC in the Hong Kong Premier League, will come up against the Chinese-owned Jets next Wednesday as part of the Hyundai A-League club’s pre-season tour of China.
The 32-year-old was born and raised in the Hunter and spent two seasons with the Jets from 2012-2014.
While he admits its “strange” to be meeting his old club again in China, he’s looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces again.
“It will be nice to see some of the guys though and have a run against them,” Mitchell told www.a-league.com.au from Hong Kong this week.
“Nigel Boogaard is the one I’m closest with. I grew up with his wife and him as well so I have known them both for years and years. I actually contacted him about the game before it was all happening.
“A few of the other guys I played with as well. [Ben] Kantarovski and a few of the boys that have been there a while…it should be good.”
Mitchell still takes an interest in how the Jets fare in the Hyundai A-League and believes they will aim for the finals in season 2016/17 after making big strides under Scott Miller last campaign.
The Jets have bolstered their attack with Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko one of their new recruits, with Mitchell likely to get a close-up look at him in Shenzhen.
“It will be interesting to see how he goes. A new striker always an important part of the team,” Mitchell said.
“Hopefully he does well for them. Not in the trial game [against us] but maybe after that.”
Before battling the Jets, Mitchell’s side kick-off their Hong Kong Premier League season on Friday night against Wofoo Tai Po.
Eastern FC is managed by 27-year-old Chan Yuen-Ting, who made headlines when appointed as the first female head coach in Hong Kong history.
“She’s been excellent. She’s very thorough, you can tell she just wants to achieve success in her role as well as for the team,” Mitchell said.
“She’s very driven, she just wants to learn things. She’s got a good bunch of people around her and the club supports her 100% percent and the coaching staff as well, they seem to work really well together.“I’m sure more and more female coaches will pop up and be given opportunities because it really is a case of if you do a good job you’ll get the respect you deserve, regardless of your gender,” Mitchell added.