Cooper ready to step up

Mitch Cooper is confident he will be ready to step up if called upon to make his first starting appearance for the Jets on Sunday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets midfielder Mitch Cooper is confident he will be ready to step up if called upon to make his first starting appearance for the Jets against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Cooper has come on as a second-half substitute in the Jets- last three outings, replacing Englishman Michael Bridges in the number 10 role on each occasion.

With Bridges and marquee striker Emile Heskey both being rested for Sunday-s clash with the Victory, Cooper is one of a handful of Jets players who may see increased playing time during the match.

“It will be tough not having Emile and Bridgey-s experience, but like Gary has said, he has confidence in the young boys coming through,” Cooper said.

“We want to make an impression and earn more game time and hopefully try to push our way into he starting line-up.

“I-m confident that I can do a good job if I get the opportunity for more game time on Sunday and if I do, it-s only going to help me improve and develop.”

Cooper said he was hopeful he could have a positive influence of the match regardless of whether he started the game or came off the bench.

“I don-t mind coming off the bench because you can make an impact and try to change the game, but obviously if you get the chance to start you can relax a bit more and get a feel for the game a bit easier,” Cooper explained.

“Especially being able to play alongside Ruben (Zadkovich) who-s always working hard in there and showing his leadership in midfield.”

Despite being in the middle of an arduous stretch of four games in 14 days, Cooper said morale amongst the Jets players was high thanks to their hoodoo breaking win against Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday.

“There was a really good vibe around the team going into the Wellington game and I thought we played some really good football, especially in the first half,” Cooper said.

“To get our first win there since 2007 is a real positive for us to take into the game against the Victory.

“I feel fresh and I-m ready to go. I-ve always wanted to play the Victory here in Melbourne, it looks like a good atmosphere out on the field so I-m looking forward to it.”