Newcastle Jets attacker Aleksandr Kokko believes he possesses the street smarts and experience to help lead the Club’s attack and make a strong contribution in his maiden Hyundai A-League campaign.
Finnish striker Kokko looks set to spearhead the Newcastle offense on Sunday when the Jets host the reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers and Champions Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium (formerly Hunter Stadium).
Kick-off in the contest is at 5pm, and while Kokko’s former Club (RoPS Rovaniemi) hail from Lapland in Finland northernmost province where the average daily temperature is less than five degrees celcius, the Russian-born marksman doesn’t believe that typically Australian temperatures will have any real impact on his output this season.
“I feel I am ready,” Kokko told reporters at the Club’s official pre-match press conference on Friday. “Everyone is just waiting to go to the field Sunday and play. It has been a long pre-season and everyone is just excited that we have the game Sunday.”
“I have played (football) in plus 30 before and minus 20, and I think warmer temperatures are better for me because at minus 20 you don’t feel your legs, your muscles are freezing, so if it’s hot it’s fine.”
“I am not young anymore - I am 29 and I think I understand quite good what we want. When we have the ball I need to be in the box to try and score, when we don’t have the ball I will be trying to help my team get the ball back,” he said.
Kokko admitted that he will be aiming to impress the Club’s home fans in his Hyundai A-League bow.
“Of course there is always thoughts like that, if you score you can be a hero,” Kokko said when asked if wanted to make a big first up impression. “But I just hope we play a good game, that we can get three points and I can help my team.”
“Of course, everyone expects if you play number nine (striker) that you will score or make assists.”
“I will just try to do my job and score goals, help the team, help the team get three points,” he said.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Mark Jones backed his Finnish hit man to perform strongly on Sunday.
“He (Kokko) is a good finisher,” Jones explained. “He is a big, strong target man, a point of our attack and someone we can play through.”
“Certainly we have got a little bit of speed out wide, so we can play through him, get the ball wide and then get numbers in the box like we have been doing at training,” he said.
Date: Sunday 9 October 2016
Venue: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Television: The match will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS
Radio: The match will be called LIVE on ABC Newcastle
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