Craig Deans expects competition for spots amongst the Jets playing squad to reach new heights over the next six weeks.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans says he expects competition for spots amongst the Jets playing squad to reach new heights as they enter the final phase of their pre-season program.
After a week off, the Jets squad returned to training on Monday to begin their last six-week training block before they begin their A-League campaign against Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on October 7.
“There-s only six weeks until the first game so we can start to focus on things that are a little more specific to certain positions,” Deans said.
“People who are fighting for positions are really going to be working hard to put their hand up before the season begins.
“It is going to be an interesting six weeks but I think everyone is looking forward to it.”
One player who will have an opportunity to press his claims for a starting berth over the course of the next few weeks is central defender Taylor Regan.
With Tiago Calvano serving a four-game suspension and Connor Chapman away on national team duty with the Young Socceroos, Regan is likely to partner Josh Mitchell in the heart of the Jets defence in upcoming trial matches.
Deans said it was up to Regan to make the most of the opportunity.
“That-s what it-s all about. You get certain moments in your career during a game, or during a season where you have an opportunity to put your hand up and make a difference to cement your place in the team," he said.
“When you get those chances, you have to make sure that you take them and that-s a good challenge for all the players to make sure when their moment comes, they-re ready.”
With four trial games lined-up against A-League opposition over the next four weeks, Deans said the Jets would be looking to fine-tune certain aspects of their game.
“We-ve got plenty of games against A-League opposition in this block as well, so it will be a good opportunity to work on things that we want to see happening regularly throughout the season,” he said.
“Whether it-s in the front third, the defensive third, set pieces or whatever it might be, we can actually see how effective we might be.”
The Jets take on defending A-League Champions Brisbane Roar at Scully Park in Tamworth on Saturday night.
Deans said the Jets were eager to test themselves against a team that has been the benchmark of the A-League for the past two years.
“Obviously Brisbane have won the competition for the past two seasons and played some really good football along the way,” Deans said.
“To have a good opportunity to see where you-re at in relation to a team like that is something that we should be looking forward to.
“As players, they should be keen to play in that game and test themselves, so it will be a good challenge for them.”
Match details: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar Scully Park, Tamworth Saturday, September 1 Kick-off 6.30pm