Marcos Flores says he has been dreaming of taking on former club Central Coast from the moment he signed with the Newcastle Jets, adding even more spice to this weekend's opening round F3 derby.
In a blockbuster start to the new Hyundai A-League campaign, Flores’ Jets take on the Mariners – the club that cut the Argentine last season – in the F3 derby at Bluetongue Stadium.
Flores has made no secret of his disappointment at the Mariners, accusing the club of not showing enough faith in his ability to recover from a full knee reconstruction suffered in January.
But after a “really tough nine months” the 29-year-old playmaker is enjoying a new lease of life in the Hunter and is keen to show their fierce rivals just what they are missing on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s massive game. It’s not my goal to beat the Mariners just once but twice and three times and I want to be in the top six,” Flores told www.a-league.com.au at the season launch on Tuesday.
“After what happened I was for four or five months without a club but I never gave up and thanks to God and the universe I got another opportunity (with the Jets).
“And what a game to start with the derby. From day one I have been dreaming about that game.
“It’s a big challenge for myself but I’m ready to fight and show what I can do to everyone.
“It’s important to start the season will, which we know will be tough but if we can win this one it would be extra nice.”
It’s very much a fresh start for the Jets in 2014/15, with new coach Phil Stubbins at the helm and a host of new signings in the squad.
Despite showing some encouraging signs towards the end of their pre-season schedule, the Jets have been written off in most quarters to push for a finals berth.
While the side is more than happy to fly under the radar, the ex-Adelaide and Melbourne Victory man is convinced they will prove the doubters wrong.
“Everyone is looking at us like we’re underdogs and the team that’s going to finish last,” Flores said.
“I feel like screaming to everybody that I’m not ready to lose and I’m not going to start the season thinking we aren’t capable of fighting for the trophy.
“It’s not Christmas all year around so we’re not going to be in Newcastle giving points away, we are going to fight.
“As one of the senior players I want to encourage everyone to put in 100 percent. It’s been difficult few years for Newcastle Jets but we want to be in the top six now.”
If that is to happen the Jets could do with a fit and firing Flores, who says his injured knee is “feeling good” for a strong start to the season.
What Jets fans will be hoping though is for Flores to show the sort of form he did at Adelaide United in the 2010/11 season, when he took the league by storm and won the Johnny Warren Medal as the competition’s best player.
“What happened in Adelaide was beautiful but I’m not living from my old days,” said Flores, when asked if he is confident he can recapture his best form.
“When I was MVP in Adelaide that year, I said that wasn’t my best. The fact I scored 10 goals and had 10 assist make everyone think that was my best football.
“What I felt in Adelaide was that we were a team that loved what we were doing and I don’t want to retire without feeling that feeling again.
“I’m a team player, I need players around with that passion and trust and if we make that connection work I will get back to my best level.”