Newcastle midfielder Ruben Zadkovich believes things could get fiery when they take on a Western Sydney Wanderers side littered with ex-Jets.
Newcastle Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich believes things could get fiery when they travel to Parramatta Stadium this weekend to take on a Western Sydney Wanderers side littered with ex-Jets.
The Wanderers team boasts no less than six ex-Newcastle players in their squad, including goalkeeper Ante Covic, defenders Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tarek Elrich and Adam D'Apuzzo as well as forwards Labinot Haliti and Mark Bridge.
Elrich and D'Apuzzo both played over 100 games for the Jets before being unceremoniously let go in recent seasons while Bridge is etched in Newcastle folklore after scoring the winning goal in the Jets Grand Final victory in the 2007/08 season.
D'Apuzzo told the media this week that he and his teammates are looking forward to proving a point against his former club.
"We will soon see," Zadkovich said at training on Thursday.
"With them having a lot of ex-Newcastle players, they're certainly going to have something to prove so it'll be a tough game
"I am sure they will want to win the match as much as we want to win the match but it will be basically who plays better on the day.
"We have some friends in their team but it will be work as usual and trying to be professional and trying to get the win."
Zadkovich said he expects the Wanderers fans to embrace the grudge factor of Saturday night's match and to give the Jets a hostile reception.
But the former Qantas Socceroo said it will only serve to motivate him - and his Newcastle teammates.
"It is great, I love it - the more the better. I love a hostile crowd and it gives me something to prove," Zadkovich said.
"They're a strong team in general. Tony Popovic has done a great job with them in such a short period of time.
"He's a really good coach and was an experienced player so I'm sure he's going to have their players pumped up for this game.
"They've got some good players there and we've got to really wary of that, but in saying that we have got some great young players that have come in this year and done really well for us.
"As a squad we probably have the edge on them, but we have to go out there and we have to make sure we go out there and stamp that authority.
Zadkovich said they would not be drawn into focusing too much on Wanderers' marquee man Shinji Ono, and said Newcastle's in-form striker Emile Heskey will more likely pose a bigger threat in the game.
"He's (Ono) a great player and it is great to have these marquee players in the league at the moment," Zadkovich said.
"They're bringing in the crowds and they bring something different on the field. You can see that with Heskey, you can see that with (Sydney FC's Alessandro) Del Piero, and I'm sure Ono is no different.
"I'll be more focused on our marquee and trying to give him the service he deserves and I'm pretty sure if we keep creating chances, he'll keep scoring.
"We've got a great young squad and some really good experienced players in the mix that level things out for us. If we can play as well as our potential shows, we will win."