Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard believes the Jets can build upon Friday’s improved showing against Adelaide United by testing the table-topping Western Sydney Wanderers when the two teams meet at Pirtek Stadium on Christmas Eve.
Boogaard returned to Scott Miller’s starting line up last Friday having missed the club’s previous three matches due to an ankle injury.
The central defender helped the Jets secure their third clean sheet of the season against the Reds, which will have gone some way to restoring the defensive belief that the team had been building throughout its campaign until its round 10 slip-up against Melbourne City.
“It was a positive performance,” the experienced stopper said of the Adelaide game. “Collectively we went out there with a game plan and executed it to a degree. After the week before I think the boys turned it around.”
“Securing a clean sheet is obviously positive, and something that we really want to instil in the group, being defensively strong as a unit.”
“Of course we have to take more opportunities going forward, [but] we kept possession well on the weekend and created a number of chances --- it’s good to know that we are getting those chances.”
“Wanderers will be a massive challenge for us but we can really go down there and take it to them. If we go down there with the right mentality then we can come away with a result,” he said.
Regular Jets starter Jason Hoffman will be absent from Thursday evening’s line up due to suspension --- Hoffman picked up his fifth yellow cards of the campaign against Guillermo Amor’s outfit. While Boogaard would naturally prefer to have both Hoffman available, he’s confident that whomever Miller selects to enter the side can do a job for the team in the club’s pre-Christmas clash.
“‘Hoff’ [Hoffman] played well again the other night and has done well this season," Boogaard said.
“We’re going to miss him but it’s going to give opportunities to others, and I think it was also pleasing that there were a couple of young boys out there for us on the weekend --- ‘Cowby’ [Nicholas Cowburn], [Ryan] Kitto and ‘Lachy’ [Lachlan Jackson] did very well for us.”
“There are opportunities for boys to come in and prove themselves and the gaffer is confident that whoever is going to come in is going to do the job.”
“If we implement our game plan that the coaching staff set for us then we are confident that we can beat anyone,” he said.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 12
When: Thursday 24 December 2015 (Christmas Eve)
Where: Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Television: LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505 & SBS TWO
Radio: Live on ABC Grandstand & 1233 ABC Newcastle
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #WSWvNEW @NewcastleJetsFC