O’Donovan: Jets have nothing to fear against City
He admits the “butterflies are going” but striker Roy O’Donovan insists the Newcastle Jets have nothing to fear against Melbourne City in Friday night’s Hyundai A-League semi-final.
In what will be the club’s biggest game in almost a decade, the Jets will be hoping to overcome an in-form City side to add one more chapter to a fairytale season so far.
And they’ll have huge backing behind them, with a crowd in excess of 25,000 expected inside McDonald Jones Stadium to roar-on Ernie Merrick’s men.
“It gets the butterflies going, you want to win the game and nobody wants to go out in the semi-final,” said O’Donovan, who has the experience from Cup finals at Wembley and in Asia.
“You really have to put in a performance because you want to be there in the showpiece game at the end of the season.
“I think we deserve that but the only way we can show we deserve is by putting in a real good performance on Friday night.
“If we play the way we have played this year and to our strengths, I don’t have any fear.”
O’Donovan’s supreme confidence comes from what has been a superb campaign for the side so far, finishing comfortably in second spot, playing some sublime football and scoring a stack of goals.
But their record against City is worrying, with Warren Joyce’s troops winning both games between the sides in the Hunter in 2017/18.
That includes a 3-0 drubbing just last month.
“The last time they scored off three set pieces and other than that I thought it was pretty even game,” O’Donovan admitted.
“We didn’t oppose our game on them which isn’t like us. Against every other team this year they came off the pitch knowing they were in a game with the Newcastle jets. That’s something we need to rectify this weekend. “We’ve got very experienced players back on the pitch, a lot of aggressive players and a lot of players that are hungry to win games.”
After losing three straight games prior to the end of the regular season, the Irishman feels the Jets “turned a corner” in the final round 8-2 demolition of the Mariners.
O’Donovan scored a brace in the match, taking his tally to nine goals for the season from just 14 appearances.
“Any striker will tell you, you need to get the ball in the right areas. Nobody cares how many runs you make, how good your touches are, how quick you are, people only care how many goals you score,” he said.
“I’ve lived with that all of my career and some days are better than others. These things kind of come in blocks and definitely the Mariners was a turning point I felt.
“I do feel good. I’m finally catching back up from the injuries.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve got better and better and learned some lessons.
“Even when we lost a couple of games, we learned some valuable lessons of what we have been doing well, and we went back to basics against the Mariners. You learn more about yourself when you’re losing games that’s for sure.”