Home-grown Newcastle Jets right-back Jason Hoffman believes strong characters within the club’s first team squad can help steer Scott Miller’s side to a successful second half of the Hyundai A-League season.
Hoffman believes having the likes of captain Nigel Boogaard and experienced defender Daniel Mullen return to full fitness over the past few weeks will assist the team in achieving its ambitions.
But the defender has called on every member of the club’s first team squad to show their capacity to lead as the campaign ticks towards its mid-way point and the Jets aim to improve their overall outcomes against their Hyundai A-League adversaries.
“I feel that we have great characters in the group,” Hoffman said ahead of this Sunday’s Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League double-header against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
“We’ve had some boys return from injury – Nigel Boogaard our captain, Daniel Mullen has come back.
"We miss David Carney through suspension this week, which is unfortunate, but we have some bright young wingers like Ryan Kitto who has come in and done fantastically well.
“I think every team in the A-League will go through their ups and downs. We started the season fantastically well and we were probably unfortunate not to ride that wave a little bit further.”
“In saying that we’ve had a slump, but how can we respond? If we’re going to play finals come the end of the season then we have to show character,” Hoffman explained.
Hoffman missed the Jets’ Christmas Eve defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers due to an accumulation of yellow cards, and with ten days between Newcastle’s round 12 and 13 fixtures he’s understandably keen to return to the pitch this Sunday against Victory.
Like teammate Mullen, the former Hamilton Olympic player believes focussing on producing strong performances in the second half of the campaign ought to ensure the Jets are there or thereabouts in the race for a Finals place come early April.
“It’s extremely disappointing to miss any football, whether it’s on the training park or more importantly in matches,” Hoffman said.
“To travel down to Parramatta and watch the boys in what was a hard game and have no control over the outcome, there’s nothing worse a footballer.”
“In saying that it makes you hungrier and I can’t wait for Sunday’s match against Victory.”
“I have seen many times over the last few [Hyundai] A-League seasons where teams have had a good start to the year, a slump in the middle and then come back with a bang and they’ve ended up in the Finals.”
“That’s our goal and of course I think it is realistic. We just need to constantly improve and make sure the performances are right,” he said.