Zane v Farina: Rookie v Master

One is just starting out on his coaching career while the other has plenty of experience at both international and Hyundai A-League level.

One is just starting out on his coaching career while the other has plenty of experience at both international and Hyundai A-League level.

Greenhorn Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane and Sydney FC boss Frank Farina will go head-to-head this weekend in a vital clash for both sides' finals chances.

The two have history with Farina coaching Zane at Socceroos level, their most famous victory coming at the 2001 Confederations Cup where the latter's goal handed Australia a memorable 1-0 win over then-world champions France.

We take a closer look at the two men trying to pilot their sides into the finals, their thoughts on one another and coaching in the A-League.

Clayton Zane

It's been a bumpy start to Zane's stint in charge of the Jets' first team since taking over from the sacked Gary van Egmond last month.

A draw and two defeats from his first three games in charge ramped the pressure up immediately but things are looking up following last weekend's 1-0 win over league-leaders Brisbane Roar.

The result came as a huge relief for the rookie coach, who concedes the move into the top job was a lot different to what he expected when first called into the role.

But Zane has played under some astute managers in his career, and rates this weekend's adversary Farina right up there.

'One of the real things I took out of playing under Frank was just his calm and relaxed demeanour,' Zane said.

'He might have been going 1000 miles an hour inside but he always came across as calm and in control to the players.

'That gives you a lot of confidence. He had a lot of belief in the players and put trust in them, especially the senior guys and that's something I took with me.'

Reflecting on his time under Farina with the national team, Zane said he owes a great debt of gratitude to the faith the now-Sky Blues boss showed in him.

'I was very thankful he (Farina) gave me an opportunity. I remember I was with the Olympic team at the time, someone got injured so he called me up and all of a sudden I was playing in the Confederations Cup,' Zane recalled.

'It was a career highlight for me and to play and score against some of my idols is something I'll never forget.  I thought Frank was a good coach, he was only young at the time but had good ideas and the team really gelled well together.

'He had success as a player, was very determined and driven and he was similar as a coach. I knew he would have success.'

It's Zane though who is craving success and he is relieved to have that first senior win under his belt.

The morale-boosting victory has moved the Jets back up to eighth spot on the ladder, just two points outside the top six heading into the final two months of the regular season.

'Right from the start of the season, even when Gary was in charge we looked at the draw and really felt we had a favourable run home,' Zane admitted.

'We've got a lot of home games and play a lot of sides in the same boat as us and trying to get some consistency. The opportunity is there.

'The good thing is we have a lot of players getting back to full fitness and coming back into the team. There's still a lot of work to be done but the positives are there.' Frank Farina

Farina has needed to draw on all the experience from his seven years at the helm of the Socceroos and his time in charge with Brisbane (Strikers and Roar) in the NSL and A-League respectively to manoeuvre through this campaign.

The 49-year-old has endured a roller-coaster time in his 15-month tenure at the Sky Blues so far, mixing some poor results with some sensational highs, including a club-record four-game winning streak earlier this season.

But 10 defeats – the most of any club – for the season has seen the pressure intensify from club supporters, with fan protests and banners calling for his sacking marring their last two home matches.

A tumultuous period ended with a much-needed 2-1 win over the Perth Glory last Saturday which saw Sydney jump back into the top six.

'As I've always said things seem to calm down when you get three points,' Farina said this week.

'But that's just the start. We're in the (top) six and we're two points off third so there's still a lot to play for with eight games to go.

'We're just focused on what we want to do week by week. To get three points against Perth was hugely important after the week of turmoil we had. That will have calmed the storm a little bit probably but my belief is you just work harder.'

Farina has had enough to deal with in his own backyard to pay too much attention to how his former striker with the national team has been travelling.

But Zane will certainly come into Farina's focus this week as he tries to formulate a plan to topple the Jets and keep the Sky Blues in the top six.

The Sydney boss was the one who gave Zane a chance at international level but says he never got the impression the beanpole striker would one day get into coaching.

'I didn't think he'd be crazy enough to be honest,' Farina joked.

'I got no real indication when he was playing that (coaching) would be the path he wanted to take.

'Back then when I was involved with him as a player it was probably the last thing on his mind where he wanted to head and what he wanted to do. But I'm happy for him and hopefully he does well.'

Asked if he could pass on any words of wisdom to his former striker, Farina said: 'I don't like to give advice, particularly to other managers because everyone has their own style and own way of working.

'You find your own way because you have your own issues and problems that others don't have. You learn as you go along.'

Newcastle v Sydney FC – Key Stats:

*Sydney has won 14 of 26 previous clashes with Newcastle, losing just 5 times;

*The Jets have only 2 wins from 12 games against Sydney in the Hunter;

*Sydney has scored in just four of their last nine away fixtures;

*Newcastle has the worst home record of any A-League club this season;

*Alessandro Del Piero has scored three goals in just five games against Newcastle.

Match Details Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC Saturday, 22 February 2014 Hunter Stadium, Newcastle Kick-off: 5:30pm local

Tickets Match day tickets can be purchased through PROticket.com.au or by calling 1300 12 10 12.