Ruben Zadkovich says the Jets will have to be switched on to deal with the attacking threats posed by Brisbane Roar on Friday.
They may no longer be playing at the level that saw them secure back-to-back A-League titles, but Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich still believes Brisbane Roar are as difficult an opponent as any other team in the competition.
Despite the Roar currently sitting in seventh place on the A-League ladder they still boast a potent forward line featuring last season-s Johnny Warren Medallist Thomas Broich and Golden Boot winner Besart Berisha.
Berisha has already found the back of the net on 12 occasions this season and Zadkovich said the Jets will have to be switched on to deal with the attacking threat posed by the Roar.
“We-re wary of a few of their players, not just Berisha, but for me Thomas Broich is one the best players in the league,” Zadkovich said.
“He-s had a bit of an inconsistent year, but at any moment he can pop up and do something brilliant.
“We know we-ve got to be aware of him and Berisha and they-ve also got Mitch Nichols coming back from injury and he-s another quality player.
“Their whole side is full of quality players and we know to beat them we-re going to have to be at our best.”
The Jets will enter tomorrow night-s fixture full of confidence having been unbeaten in their last five outings at Hunter Stadium, however Zadkovich said there was no room for complacency against the Roar.
“They-ve still got some core players like Berisha and Broich that were there during that unbeaten streak they had and their back-to-back Grand Final wins,” Zadkovich said.
“You never write-off a team when they have players like that and history like that.
“We know they-re a quality side and I think the ladder is a little bit deceiving in terms of separating teams because on any day I think anyone can beat anyone.
“It-s a massive game. They-re directly behind us on the ladder and it-s going to be a huge one and the boys are ready and pumped.
“They-ve got just as much to play for as us and we know that. It-s going to be a real fight tomorrow but it will probably come down to a couple of things (including) who-s got the biggest heart.”
Zadkovich said playing in front of a big crowd full of parochial Novocastrians could be the difference in helping the Jets get over the line against the Roar.
“When we-re at home we-ve got the home fans and the Members and they really help us,” Zadkovich said.
“Last Friday they were exceptional and if they can come out in numbers again this Friday it will be massive for us.”
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar Friday, February 22 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm (Gates open 6.30pm) Tickets from PROticket