Miron backs Robson

Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg has thrown his weight behind out-of-sorts midfielder Robson, saying he will stick by the enigmatic Brazilian despite a patch of bad form.

Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg has thrown his weight behind out-of-sorts midfielder Robson, saying he will stick by the enigmatic Brazilian despite a patch of bad form.

Bleiberg admitted that the 24-year-old was "not in my good books at the moment" after he was dropped from the starting line-up for last week's M1 derby against Brisbane - and made a costly mistake once he was substituted into the match.

But the United boss said he will stand by the talented former Flamengo man, who looked in near career-best touch during the side's long and arduous pre-season campaign.

"He's not in my good books at the moment, that's the truth," he said.

"Robson didn't set the world on fire in the last game. Instead of a semi-respectable result of 2-0, his mistake made it an unrespectable 3-0 result."

"I'm still holding it against him and against the Mariners he had a few unfavourable moments."

"But we've worked all pre-season with Robson so we won't discard a player because of one or two bad games."

"I would have expected a better start to the season and it hasn't happened, but that doesn't mean I've lost any confidence in my boys."

Whether that translates into a starting spot for the Brazilian for Sunday's meeting with Newcastle depends on the fitness of attacking starlet Ben Halloran and veteran marksman Joel Porter, according to Bleiberg.

Halloran is nursing an ankle knock while Porter has a minor calf strain, but both will be put through tests on Saturday morning to determine whether they will be right to face the Jets.

"I don't know what Benny's situation or what Porter's situation is but I'll know Saturday morning. After the last training session, you know everything," Bleiberg said.

Gold Coast's defensive depth is also being tested, with Croatian stopper Ante Rozic again ruled out with a knee injury and young utility Josh Brillante away on international duty.

However, Hearts loanee Dylan McGowan is a certain starter after overcoming a knock to his knee sustained against the Roar, while Kristian Rees is set to play alongside captain Michael Thwaite in the centre of defence.

Thwaite welcomed Rees' return to the first XI and backed his old partner in crime to revert United's back four to the stolid and stingy fortress it was last term.

"He's a very comfortable fit. He's always very composed, very good in the air and very reliable," he said.

"But it's quite strange to be in this position. We've prided ourselves on keeping a lot of clean sheets in the past couple of years."

"In defence, the signs have been good and our formation was working very well for at least our first two games and for the first half against the Roar. We've just got to put our chances away and build confidence that way."