Newcastle Jets Head Coach Mark Jones says his team must be “patient” and “defend well” if they’re to rattle Brisbane Roar on their home turf on Saturday.
Not since February 2014 have the Jets claimed maximum points in Queensland, however Jones’ side did snap a six-game winless run against Roar when the teams last met at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle last October.The Jets claimed a comprehensive 4-0 win that day, however both teams have improved since then, so Jones knows his side will need to put in a polished performance if they’re to put an end to Brisbane’s impressive 13-game unbeaten streak in the Sunshine State.
“Even though we had such a good result in the first round (against Roar) we still didn’t dominate possession,” Jones told local press on Friday.
“We know we are a better football team now (and) they are quoted in the paper as saying that they’ve gotten better.”
“It will be an interesting match up, but I think if we are patient and we defend well then we will always score goals.”
“If we defend well then we have got the weapons to score against any team.”
“They (Roar) will commit numbers forward, so we need to be defensively solid, but that also opens up room on the counter (attack),” he said.
One of the keys to Newcastle being defensively solid will come with the inclusion of skipper Nigel Boogaard in the backline.
Jones confirmed that the Club’s captain is set to make his return from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined against Melbourne Victory last round.
“He (Boogaard) is back and he got through the session yesterday with no problems at all, so I am very excited that he can start again,” he said.
“He is a leader, he is the captain and he runs the show. He gives us direction and composure playing out from the back, so he is a valuable part of our squad, obviously.”
While Ben Kantarovski (knee) and Ivan Vujica (hamstring) are currently unavailable for selection due to injury, the Jets boss says he is enjoying some welcome selection headaches due to numerous fit players being able to play in a variety of positions.
Indeed, Jones called on everyone in his squad to take their individual performances to a new level to help the Club in its pursuit of a place in the Hyundai A-League’s top six.
“The message for everyone this year is that if we want to make the six then we need to improve and do something more than we did last year, and that’s to take your game to the next level.”
“Hopefully we educate them enough to give them options to become a better footballer, and they either take that on board or they don’t.”
“For us it is about performing well against all the sides, but certainly the sides that are in and around us, we need to do well against those.”
“It is an important period … we need to get something from this run.”
Kick-off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday is at 5:35pm (AEDT) with coverage LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505. Twitter updates will be available at www.Twitter.com/NewcastleJetsFC.