Bridges enjoying new role

Michael Bridges says he is relishing his new role as assistant coach to Clayton Zane ahead of Saturday’s clash with Western Sydney.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets forward Michael Bridges says he is relishing his new role as assistant coach to Clayton Zane in the build-up to Saturday-s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium.

Bridges said he was enjoying the opportunity to serve as a vital link between the playing group and coaching staff.

“Not much has changed in the fact that I-m the go between for the lads and the coaching staff,” Bridges said.

“It-s a little bit different with the coaching aspect and having a bit more input around the formations with Clayton, who has been bouncing ideas off myself and Craig Deans.”

Bridges said the added responsibility had given him a fresh outlook on his football.

“I lost a bit of emotion and a bit of zest because I wasn-t getting a run in the team and was only getting bit parts here and there,” Bridges said.

“Now I-ve been given a new lease of life. It-s been a nice fresh start that I-ve enjoyed and hopefully I can spread the enthusiasm amongst the boys, on the park and amongst the fans as well.

“I-d love to play more minutes, but I-ve got a role here now that if I-m not, I-ve got something else to concentrate on and I can really have an input.

“It keeps me on my toes, it keeps me guessing and I-m looking at games now from a whole different angle.”

Fixing the Jets- goal-scoring woes, which has seen them find the back of the net just twice in their last five outings will be one of Bridges- top priorities in his new role.

The former Leeds United man said he hoped to see the Jets play with a more carefree attitude when they find themselves in attacking positions.

“I really want to get involved and help the strikers out and get us firing, because we-re creating chances and not putting them away,” Bridges said.

“When you have players with raw talent, you don-t want to take it out of them and make them become a robot.

“In the final third, it-s risk against reward. It-s party time, it-s fantasyland - go and do what you want.

“You don-t want to restrict them. If they make a mistake, tell them to get the ball and try again.” Bridges said the Jets were focused on performing more consistently week-in, week-out, starting with Saturday-s clash with the Wanderers.

“It-s a realistic game and it-s a results based game at this level, we know that,” Bridges said.

“A few wins and you-re right back in there and that-s what the A-League is about.

“If you-re consistent in this league, you-ll do well.

“We-ve been very hit and miss and that-s been the hardest part to swallow for me in the three years that I-ve been here.

“We always start the season well and fade towards the end, so we-ve got a chance to put that right now.”

Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers Hunter Stadium Saturday, February 1 Kick-off 7.45pm Tickets available from PROticket.