Jets won't underestimate weakened Mariners

Gary van Egmond says the Mariners will be as tough an opponent as ever, despite being without key players for Saturday’s F3 Derby.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond believes the Central Coast Mariners will be as tough an opponent as ever, despite being without key players and their coach for Saturday-s F3 Derby at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Mariners will be without young stars Tom Rogic and Bernie Ibini as the pair look to secure deals with overseas clubs, but van Egmond said that their absences won-t make the Jets- task any easier.

“We know how they play and it doesn-t matter which players they play,” van Egmond said.

“Obviously in some areas I suppose the quality will differ, especially in regards to Rogic with his creative ability.

“From the perspective of their structure and the way that they do things, they just bring another player in and he-s got it down pat in regards to what they need to do.

“It-s on their home turf and it-s a derby, so we-re under no illusions how hard a game it will be regardless of the eleven that takes the field for them at any stage during the game.”

The Mariners will also be without their head coach Graham Arnold after he received a one-match touchline ban.

“Obviously from (Graham Arnold-s) perspective, he can (usually) change things during a game, but his offsider Phil Moss has been around him long enough to understand those subtleties as well,” van Egmond said.

“The Mariners are pretty compact in the way that they play, they-re pretty defence orientated from the perspective of making sure they keep their shape.

“They concede very, very few goals, so you have to be very good in the transitional moments, you have to be very good at keeping possession in your own half.”

The Jets have not conceded a goal in their past two matches and van Egmond said his side would be looking to draw on those performances against the Mariners and their competition-leading goalscorer Daniel McBreen.

“The boys are growing in confidence from two clean sheets,” van Egmond said.

“It-s not completely and utterly from the back four that we-ve kept the clean sheets, it-s from a collective group.

“Either way, the back four do get a lot of confidence from that and that will keep them in good stead for this upcoming game.”

Van Egmond fielded a side with an average age of under 22 for the Jets- 1-0 win over Brisbane and he said he is confident the young group can step up again in what is sure to be an intense derby atmosphere.

“From what we-ve seen with those younger ones, they give you a lot of energy, they-ve got a magnificent attitude, their work ethic is really good and it-s about complementing that with experience,” van Egmond said.

“You can bring experience in (for games like this), but if people are underdone, it-s not going to be advantageous to go into a derby underdone, whether you-re 35 or 17.”