Returning Jet O’Donovan vowing goals and has Mariners in his sights
Central Coast Mariners fans look away now. Newcastle Jets recruit Roy O’Donovan says he has a point to prove and hopes ‘lightning strikes twice’ as he gears up for Sunday’s F3 Derby.
O’Donovan is set to make his first appearance back in Jets colours against the Mariners after re-joining the Hunter club last week after a short stint at Brisbane Roar.
The Irishman left the Jets at the end of last season after failing to get a new two-year deal but says he feels like he is returning “home” after inking an 18-month deal.
"It worked out in the end didn't it? We went the long way around with the world's longest game of poker but we finally got there," O'Donovan told reporters on Tuesday.
"I'm glad really because I can get my teeth stuck into something now for 18 months.
“There’s going to be a new coach coming in the door and I feel I can bring something to the table here. A bit of vibrancy, a bit of energy and I watched the team the last few weeks and I think they are playing some good stuff.”
O’Donovan, 34, scored 20 goals in 34 appearances in his first stint in the Hunter and joins a side that is in desperate need of attacking thrust.
The Jets are the Hyundai A-League’s lowest scorers, finding the net just 13 times in 15 games in 2019/20 so far.
But a clash against their fiercest rivals would be the perfect time to turn things around.
O’Donovan – who famously left Gosford for Newcastle ahead of the 2017/18 Season – scored a hat-trick on his Jets debut against the Mariners (re-live it in the player at the top of the page).
And he’s not ruling out a repeat at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
“It would be nice if that happened again and lightning strikes twice,” O’Donovan said.
“It’s a different game there’s different coaches, a different set of players but the same things apply.
“It’s an F3 derby, you get stuck in, it will be a physical battle, the crowd will be baying for blood.
He added: “Absolutely I have [goals in me]. It starts this week against the Mariners, hopefully it’s a good omen.
“I’ve got plenty of goals, plenty of energy, I’ve got the bit between my teeth and I’ve got a point to prove.”
Meanwhile, interim Jets boss Craig Deans has let the fuse for a feisty clash on Sunday, declaring he ‘doesn’t have much time’ for his side’s closest neighbours.
“Anytime we play the Mariners I certainly don’t want to lose to them and I would imagine all the players are the same,” Deans said.
“I don’t have much time for them at all. I don’t want to lose to them, I don’t want to be below them on the ladder and that will be the same with the players.
“It doesn’t matter if you are first, second, third or last, we don’t want to lose to them. That will be the mentality.”
In a blow for the Jets, the club confirmed young goalkeeper Noah James will miss a period of three months after sustaining a serious hand injury at training late last week.
James, 18 ruptured two ligaments in his hand on Thursday and received corrective surgery for the issue that same day following consultation with doctors and specialists.
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 9 February 2020
Kick-off: 4pm AEDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium