Newcastle Jets striker Morten Nordstrand says he can sense an added hunger during pre-season which he hopes can propel the club to a Finals Series in the new Hyundai A-League season.
Nordstrand is gearing up for his first full season in the competition after making an instant impression following his signing midway through last season's campaign.
The Jets have set a target of returning to Finals Series football in Season 2016/17 after going six campaigns without making the business end of the A-League.
And now the club is out of the Westfield FFA Cup all the focus is on the A-League,
With new owners, some talented signings acquired by coach Scott Miller and an upcoming tour of China, the Danish star says there’s a positive vibe in Newcastle as they build towards the season-opener against champions Adelaide United.
“The hunger within the team is very big to make the top six this year and I really hope we can do it,” Nordstrand told www.a-league.com.au.
“We’ve got some quality in the team with the players we’ve brought in and maybe a few more [signings] to come.
“I think we look stronger and most important the guys that have come in want to win and that’s very important.
“For us the most important thing is to get together and perform well at the start of the season and then we’ll see what will happen,” he added.
“The aim for the club is the top six and we’ll go for it but we know there’s a lot of good teams in the league as well.”
One of those new guys Nordstrand is talking about is Englishman Wayne Brown, who could forge a thriving partnership with the Dane in the Jets’ attack.
We got a glimpse of Brown’s quality in the Westfield FFA Cup, with his audacious chipped goal in the 3-1 defeat against Melbourne Victory.
With Nordstrand - who scored four times in 11 appearances last season - also showing he has an eye for goal, it bodes well for the Jets, who need to improve their attack.
Miller’s side were the lowest scorers in the Hyundai A-League last season with just 28 goals in 27 matches.
“He [Brown] has a very good right foot. He has good vision, very good technique,” Nordstrand said of Brown.
“He’s small but he can move well, knows where to be on the pitch to make himself to get in those pockets where he can turn to run at the defence.
“We’re working on our combinations every day in training and it’s something we need to bring into games.
“It’s about relationships between players as well. We have to get to know each other. It looks good in training and hopefully we can bring it into the season as well.”
The Hundested-born 33-year-old is one of three Danes in the Hyundai A-League, along with Melbourne City gloveman Thomas Sorensen and new Brisbane Roar midfielder Thomas Kristensen.
Nordstrand knows Kristensen well with the pair playing together at three different clubs in their homeland as well as with the national team.
And they won’t have to wait long to face each other next season, with the Jets hosting Brisbane at Hunter Stadium in Round 2.
“I’ve talked to him a few times since he came here…he was very happy and I’m very happy for him to be here as well,” Nordstrand said.
“He’s a very good player on the ball, very comfortable and has a very good passing game. He’s a good box-to-box player, he runs 90 minutes always and tactically he’s very good, he knows where to be and which areas to cover.”