Jets midfielder Mateo Poljak believes Western Sydney Wanderers’ raucous home support will only serve to strengthen Newcastle’s chances of silencing the table-toppers when the two teams meet at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium on Christmas Eve.
Poljak spent three years playing in both the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League for Wanderers, and enjoyed some magical nights representing the red and blacks before the passionate and vociferous RBB.
The 26-year-old Croatian gun today praised the fans of his former club, but believes that the noise and the atmosphere that the Wanderers faithful generate at ‘Wanderland’ will help Scott Miller’s men as much as it does Tony Popovic’s team.
“It’s exciting and I am looking forward to going back there,” Poljak said of Thursday’s return to Pirtek Stadium --- his first as a Jet. “I have a lot of great memories from there.”
“Obviously I am playing in a different shirt now so it changes things quite a lot, [but] I know it’s going to be a great crowd, they are great fans, and they are great for this country in regards to following football and providing that great energy.”
“It is good to have them there because they create that good football environment that everyone wants to be involved in, [so] I think personally if they [Jets players] would feel something it could only be for the better and be positive.”
“To play in front of a big crowd is a dream of every player,” he said.
The Wanderers are unbeaten in their last eight games, and have climbed to the summit of the Hyundai A-League standings throughout that run of positive results.
But while media and bookies may be pointing towards an extension of Wanderers’ winning streak in the first ever Christmas Eve contest in the competition, Poljak maintains the Jets will travel southwest from Newcastle to Parramatta with the focus and belief that they can stop Western Sydney’s string of success.
“Their [Western Sydney Wanderers] position shows where they deserve to be,” Poljak said. “We obviously know that they are very dangerous and they are winning for a reason.”
“But I don’t think our mindset would ever be to go for a draw. Our mindset is always to go and win and we know we can do it. I believe, regardless of their position on the ladder, that we can go and have a big fight against them.”
“We know that we are good enough to win against anyone in this league.”
“We have to concentrate, regardless of the score, until the last whistle,” he said.
Thursday’s Christmas Eve clash between Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets will be shown live on both FOX SPORTS 505 and SBS TWO.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Newcastle Jets - Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 12
When: Thursday 24 December 2015 (Christmas Eve)
Where: Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Television: LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505 & SBS TWO
Radio: Live on ABC Grandstand & 1233 ABC Newcastle
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #WSWvNEW @NewcastleJetsFC