Newcastle Jets started their pre-season campaign on Monday with coach Scott Miller still hoping the club will find the next Bruno Fornaroli as he seeks to boost the side's goal tally in Season 12 of the Hyundai A-League.
Miller has only recently returned from more than a month on a scouting mission of both the UK and Scandinavia.
He’s hoping to finalise deals for at least two or three more players over the “next four to six weeks”.
“They are the definitions and the difference. You look at a solid [number] nine and the influence [Bruno] Fornaroli had last year at Melbourne City,” Miller told reporters on Monday when asked if his next few signings would be the difference between a good season or a great one for the club.
“That was a risk bringing him in there and he repaid that. Now his reputation has grown.
“He’d be on the table for a club like us at this stage. We need to find a player that plays in our system but also supports the culture we’ve got.
“I won’t shy away from their ability both technically and tactically, that’s important, but they also need a work ethic and drive to join the club.”
With new owners the Chinese based Ledman Group and a hungry playing group, these are the start of what could be exciting times.
The Jets missed the finals for a sixth straight season in Season 2015/16 but have made some key acquisitions as they look to rebuild.
Midfielder Wayne Brown has arrived from Finland, winger Andrew Hoole is back in town while youngsters Devante Clut, Jack Duncan and Daniel Alessi all have points to prove.
But it’s the front third that Miller has identified as the key area his side must strengthen to make a return to the finals.
“You look at our goals last year, 28 goals scored. You need to be scoring 40-plus to be successful at this level,” the Jets boss conceded.
Miller said the Jets were hoping to play as many as nine matches games in pre-season including a possible tour of China in August.
Asked how pivotal this pre-season was with all the changes at the club over the last few weeks, Miller said: “It's nice to hear anticipation [around Newcastle] especially from where we’ve been and the negativity that was attached to it.
“To have ambition and expectation [again] from the community [is great] but more importantly their support is more important at this stage.
“I’ve asked every player to be reflective every day and more importantly be present every day. Some players you don’t know they are here some days,” Miller added.
“I want players to have an identity, I want them to develop every day and take accountability on that development.”
He added: “The first sight of the squad, especially today, the dynamic side of the players we’ve brought in and their age profile is very pleasing but they have that ability to play in pockets and play forward with speed and mobility and that’s very exciting for the team.”