Mark Birighitti has praised the impact of former Dutch international Kew Jaliens ahead of the Jets’ clash with Wellington.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has praised the impact of former Dutch international Kew Jaliens ahead of the Jets- clash with Wellington Phoenix at McLean Park in Napier on Sunday.
The Jets- defence looked compact and composed as they held Perth Glory scoreless at Hunter Stadium last weekend and Birighitti said much of the credit for shoring up the Jets- backline had to go the way of Jaliens.
The Dutchman had to be replaced during the second half of the clash with Perth due to a corked thigh, but completed a full training session on Wednesday and is expected to be fit for the trip across the Tasman.
After it took the Jets until Round 15 to secure their first clean sheet of the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League season, Birighitti said it was pleasing to see a number of positive signs from the Jets- defence already this campaign.
“We kept a clean sheet on the weekend, which is always a good thing, so hopefully I can keep a few more of them,” Birighitti said.
“Having the inclusion of Kew is massive. He-s an experienced player and has played at the highest level in Europe.
“To have his experience makes my job a lot easier, just the way he communicates to the younger players and his organisational skills are phenomenal, which makes a big difference.
“Hopefully we can keep another clean sheet this weekend and start scoring some more goals.”
Despite the difficulty of the task ahead, Birighitti said the Jets were determined to notch their first win of the season against the Phoenix on Sunday.
“It-s going to be a tough trip to Napier, our record hasn-t been the best in New Zealand, but we-re really looking forward to the challenge,” Birighitti said.
“We-ve forgotten about the last couple of weeks and we just want to get out there and prove a point.
“Hopefully we can take all three points and kick-start our season.
“We set ourselves the task of making the top six at the start of the season and we-ve definitely got the players to do that.
“The vibe is pretty good. We-ve had a solid week on the training pitch and the boys are feeling good and feeling confident about this weekend.”
After winning the Jets- Player of the Year award in his first season at the Club, Birighitti said he was determined to back those efforts again during the 2013/14 season.
“People say there is a lot of expectation in your second season, but the body is feeling good and I-ve had a good pre-season,” Birighitti said.
“I feel good, I feel confident and I-m in a good headspace at the moment.
“I love Newcastle, I-ve signed a new deal here and I-m just really looking forward to enjoying the next two or three years with the Club.”