Newcastle custodian Mark Birighitti says he is determined to finish his fourth campaign as a Jet in top form and help the team to earn more positive results in the Hyundai A-League.Birighitti has made an impressive 84 saves in 21 games throughout season 11 of the competition, and has in fact missed only one match during the season due to a face injury he sustained in round 2 against Sydney FC.
Birighitti says he is enjoying his football “more than ever” under the coaching of Scott Miller, Jean-Paul de Marigny, and his goalkeeping mentor at the club, Jess Vanstrattan.
“I am looking at finishing off these next five games on a high the same way I started the season,” Birighitti told local press following the team’s Thursday training session at Ray Watt Oval at the University of Newcastle.
“I have been very happy with my season so far and I really enjoy playing football here [at Newcastle Jets]. The culture that the gaffer has set in place is unbelievable, and it’s a really good place to be at.”
“I have enjoyed my football more than ever [this season]. The culture that is in place here at the moment is only going to get bigger and better.”
With five rounds to play in the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 regular season Birighitti says the Jets are focussing simply on each fixture as it comes in order to give the team its best opportunity to record more wins and finish as high up the standings as possible.
The 24-year-old Perth-born gloveman knows the Jets’ round 23 opponents Western Sydney Wanderers will pose a tough test at Hunter Stadium.
But Birighitti isn’t fearful of the black-and-reds, especially given the support and backing he feels he and the club receives from its Members and supporters.
Moreover Birighitti, like coach Miller and everyone at the club, is refusing to rule a Finals place out of the question until such time as the mathematics don’t stack up.
“We take each game as it comes,” Birighitti explained. “We’re four points behind sixth spot so a couple of wins and we’re back up there.”
“Our main attention is this Sunday’s game against Western Sydney at home.”
“The supporters a couple of weeks ago down on the Central Coast for the derby were amazing. I don’t see any reason for them not to come out [against Wanderers]. It’s a big game and we need them to get behind us.”
“The support that we get here in Newcastle, it’s truly amazing. This game on the weekend is going to mean so much not only for the players but for the supporters as well,” he said.
Newcastle will be without key defenders Daniel Mullen and Jason Hoffman for Sunday’s fixture against Tony Popovic’s team, and while Birighitti described both as “big losses”, he is confident that the players that come in will do a job for the team.
“We have got young boys that can come in and do a job and hopefully they can step up to the big occasion,” Birighitti said.
Newcastle Jets vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 23
When: Sunday 13 March 2016
Where: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Gates open: 3:30pm
Car Park Carnival: From 3:30pm
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #NEWvWSW
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio: 1233 ABC Newcastle & ABC Grandstand Digital