Griffiths ready to face Wanderers

Joel Griffiths says he is looking forward to once again taking the field in front of the Novocastrian faithful this Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets striker Joel Griffiths says he is looking forward to once again taking the field in front of the Novocastrian faithful when the Jets take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

After playing his last match for the Jets in early 2009, Griffiths said it would be a surreal experience playing in front of the Club-s Members and supporters once again.

“It hasn-t really sunk in yet. It-ll probably sink in when I-m on my way to the game tomorrow and when I see the supporters in the stadium,” Griffiths said.

“It-s a little bit surreal at the moment and I-ve got to really pinch myself at times.

“Hopefully as a team we can perform. It-s a big game against the Wanderers at home and it can be a game that can turn our season around.

“I just want to be involved, be as busy as possible and hopefully be in the right place at the right time.”

Griffiths is expected to come off the bench against the Wanderers, with the striker indicating his match fitness still needs improvement.

“Obviously I-ve still got work to do in terms of my conditioning, but it-s just a bonus that I-m ready to be involved,” Griffiths said.

“10 minutes or 15 minutes here and there is great at this stage. I-ll be working my butt off again next week to get myself up to speed with the rest of the young guys.

“When I first came here I was way off the pace in regards to the rest of the guys, which was fair enough.

“In the two-and-a-half weeks I have been here, I-ve seen a big difference in my conditioning.”

Griffiths said he was looking forward to forming a formidable strike partnership with former England international Emile Heskey.

“Looking at the way he plays and how he plays, I think there are a lot of positive signs in regards to how I play,” Griffiths said.

“He-s very good at playing people in, making other guys look good and he-s very unselfish.

“He hasn-t scored as many goals as some people think he should have, but once he gets one or two, the floodgates will open, that-s for sure.

“I-d like to be as close to him as possible, but in saying that I-m not the gaffer.

“That-s Clacka-s (Clayton Zane) call, but he-ll always listen to what we have to say as well which is good.”

Griffiths said a good performance against the Wanderers on Saturday could be the catalyst for strong finish to the season for the Jets.

“We just need a couple of wins back-to-back and that changes the whole attitude the way our guys can play because it will give us a lot of confidence,” Griffiths said.

“We just need to break the shackles so to speak and work hard.

"It-s a grind because results haven-t gone our way and these are the toughest games, but once you can overcome that and get over that mountain, it-s all downhill after that.

“We-re in a little bit of a hole at the moment and we-ve just got to try and scrap our way out of it and the only way to do that is by fighting and playing for the Newcastle shirt.”

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