Newcastle mentor Phil Stubbins says his charges must take to the field with the same energy, enthusiasm and attitude that they showed against Brisbane Roar last round when the Jets meet Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
Stubbins’ side suffered a last gasp 2-1 defeat to Frans Thijssen’s Queensland outfit last Friday, though displayed plenty of improvement and positivity against the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions.
With Tony Popovic’s 2014 AFC Champions League winners arriving at Hunter Stadium having recently secured their first win of the domestic season against Wellington Phoenix, Stubbins said his men need to produce another impassioned performance for themselves, the club, and the fans.
“We showed a renewed vigour in last week’s game and we need to carry that on now,” Stubbins told reporters following team training at Ray Watt Oval on Thursday.
“We’ve got a lot of young boys out there that are representing the club now [and] to a man I thought they were very, very good last week.
“We need to build on that and try and work things in a way that is to our advantage against Wanderers.
“They’ll [Wanderers] be buoyed by their win, that’s for sure, and they’ll bring some good support here so let’s hope it’s a really good game on Saturday night,” he said.
The Jets conceded both goals against Brisbane last round from set-piece situations – goals which ultimately cruelled the team’s chances of claiming a point, perhaps more, from the encounter.
Stubbins acknowledged his side simply cannot afford to ship goals cheaply if they’re to rise up the ladder during the back half of the campaign.
“We conceded goals from set-pieces [against Roar] which wasn’t good,” he said. “But I think in general play we restricted the Roar to very few opportunities, and I think during the game we had opportunities to win the game.”
“We’re not going to give up, we’re going to keep fighting, and we’re going to keep doing what we can to get results,” he said.
Defender Daniel Mullen made his Newcastle debut in the Brisbane battle, and put in a solid shift in his first outing as a Jet.
This weekend Mullen will face his most recent former club, but Stubbins said the calm and collected 25-year-old isn’t likely to be fazed by facing ex-teammates.
“I don’t think Daniel has much to prove,” Stubbins said. “I think we all saw his capabilities last week.”
“He [Mullen] came in and had a very sound impact for the team.
“He’s somebody that is very positive naturally.
“Daniel did a wonderful job for us last week and we’re hoping that he can continue on in that vein.”
Taylor Regan performed with aplomb as skipper last round, though Stubbins has indicated that the captaincy can rotate among his freshly founded leadership group.
That means Regan may retain the armband, or Mullen, Ben Kennedy or Jacob Pepper could lead the team onto the Hunter Stadium surface.
Newcastle Jets vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 17
Saturday 14 February 2015
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
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