Newcastle Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane believes the upcoming Townsville Football Cup will provide the Jets with an important barometer of their progress so far this pre-season.
The Jets depart for Townsville on Friday for a nine-day tournament where they will play fellow Hyundai A-League sides Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and a North Queensland All Stars select team.
Zane said he expected the trip to Queensland to be a beneficial one in both a football and team-bonding sense.
“We’ll be looking to take the bulk of the squad up to Townsville,” Zane said.
“It’s a bit of a team-building exercise as well as focusing on the football content while we’re up there.”
The tournament is likely to be the first chance for Jets fans to catch a glimpse of new signings such as Billy Celeski and Edson Montano in action.
Marcos Flores and Scott Neville could also feature in Townsville, with both players back to full training after a prolonged period on the sideline due ACL injuries.
“Scott Neville is slightly ahead of Marcos in terms of fitness and where he’s at in regards to the previous injury he sustained,” Zane said.
“I think at the back end of the nine days up there, with the last match being against the North Queensland All Stars, it might give us a chance to give them some game time then.
“In saying that, I don’t think it has to happen, it’ll depend on their fitness levels because they’re not really players we can rush back at this stage.
“There’s nothing quite like being put back into some games where there is competition and I think it’s really making them jump out of their skin.”
Zane said the arrival of Montano in Newcastle this week was a big boost for the Club.
“Things are finally starting to take shape,” Zane said.
“We put a lot of thought into the type of players we need in the front third, so to have Edson with us now is great and it starts to put some pressure on other players looking to fill those front two positions.
“Helping Edson settle will be something that we’re looking to do as quickly as we can and having those other Spanish-speaking players in the team should help him settle a little bit quicker.”
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