JETS INSIDER - Robbie Middleby

In this week’s Jets Insider, CEO Robbie Middleby answered questions submitted by the Club’s Members and supporters.

In this week-s Jets Insider, CEO Robbie Middleby answered questions submitted by the Club-s Members and supporters.

Middleby discusses the signing of Joel Griffiths, player retention for the 2014/15 season and the possibility of Nathan Burns returning to the Jets.

Thomas Moore asks via email: Are we in talks to keep the likes of Goodwin, Heskey, and Jaliens beyond this season?

Robbie Middleby (RM): We-ve already managed to re-sign the bulk of our squad from this season and we-re very pleased about that.

We-re continuing discussions with all of our remaining off-contract players about their futures and our focus is to do what is best for the Club and our Members and supporters.

@Stephen76 asks via Twitter: Any word on Nathan Burns? Is he coming back?

RM: We-ve had a lot of discussions with Nathan and his management and we-ve put a very good offer forward to keep him short-term and long-term at the Club.

Now it-s up to his Korean Club Incheon United to decide where they stand in regards to Nathan and if they want to keep him in Korea for the upcoming K-League season.

@soccer_joel asks via Twitter: What is the situation regarding the coach for next season?

RM: We still have half of the current season left to go and Gary is under contract for the remainder of that period.

We-ll continue to assess what the best thing is for the Club is going forward, but it-s an important decision and not one we-re going to be rushed into.

@BIG_BIG_SHOW asks via Twitter: Is there a minimum nominal figure the Jets will look for when negotiating with overseas clubs for transfer fees?

RM: We assess each player transfer on a case-by-case basis and there are a number of factors to consider.

You need to look at things like who the player is, what Club is looking to buy them, what country the Club is from and how long the player has left on their contract just to name a few.

You have to take all those things into consideration before you make a decision on how much a transfer fee should be worth.

@mkyrwood asks via Twitter: Why do the Jets persist with GVE, and why does he persist with out-of-form players, while Heskey and Bridges are benched?

RM: As I said earlier, Gary is our current coach and has a contract until the end of the season and we-ll continue to assess the coaching situation during this time.

Emile has had a few injury problems, which has limited his impact this season, but he is back to full fitness now and was able to start last weekend-s game. Hopefully we-ll get to see his quality on display during the second half of the season.

We also expect Bridgey to play his part over the coming weeks, especially while we have a few players away on international duty.

Bridgey has made a good impact when he has come on late in games and he-s a great weapon to have on bench because he can create something out of nothing.

Ryan Clark asks via email: How would you evaluate the performance of the team at the halfway point of the season?

RM: I-d say we-ve been inconsistent. I think we-ve had some really, really good wins and have played some good football in patches.

At other times, we-ve been disappointing in games that we-ve been expected to win. We seem to do well against the better teams, and not so well against the teams we-re expected to beat.

If we were able to get that consistency, we-d be a top three or top four team, which is what we expect from this Club and that-s the focus for the rest of the season.

Frank Davies asks via email: What-s your opinion on four of our key players being taken away at a key point in the season to represent Australia at the AFC U-22 Tournament?

RM: It-s always an honour to have players from your Club chosen to represent their country, but the scheduling is obviously not ideal.

To lose players for a tournament that is not a qualifying tournament for the World Cup or the Olympics is very disappointing, but there-s not a lot we could do about it once they were selected.

With the way the Club Participation Agreement was set-up when the A-League started, Clubs have no say when it comes to letting their players go to tournaments like this.

It-s something that I-ve spoken to other Clubs about and it needs to be addressed with the FFA.

@soccer_joel asks via Twitter: How likely will we extend Joel Griffiths' contract?

RM: We had discussions with Joel about that when he first signed with the Club and we-ve got a good understanding of where things lie in the short term and long term.

At the moment, we-re just looking forward to getting Joel back on the pitch and watching him play for the Jets once again.

Nathan Brown asks via email: The youth team seems to be doing quite well this season. How encouraging is that for the Club?

RM: Like last season, the youth team has been doing very well and that-s something that we pride ourselves on.

We-d like to keep promoting the junior talent in our region and it-s something we-ll continue to put a lot of a focus and resources into over the coming years.

There-s a number of local young players who have impressed this season, such as Michael Kantarovski, Nick Cowburn and Kale Bradbury just to name a few, and they-ve all had the opportunity to train with the first team as well.

Our mantra and philosophy is to have a couple of players each season graduate from our youth team into our first team and with our Emerging Jets program in place, hopefully we-ve laid the foundation for that.

Thanks for all your questions! Make sure you follow @NewcastleJetsFC on Twitter to find out who will be doing next week's Jets Insider