Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller says incidents that occurred in the club’s narrow Hyundai A-League 2015/16 round 2 defeat to Sydney FC in October will not play a role in motivating his men for the round 9 fixture between the clubs at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
During the first meeting between the Jets and Sky Blues this season Newcastle custodian Mark Birighitti suffered a brutal blow to the face when kicked by Sydney striker Shane Smeltz, while the Jets also lost charismatic and highly regarded attacker Labinot Haliti to what would later prove to be a season-ending knee injury early in the contest.
The Jets’ first home game of the campaign --- which Sydney ultimately won 1-0 courtesy of a last minute goal --- was full of emotion, but Miller maintains memories from the defeat will not be drawn upon in his side’s preparation for Friday’s fixture.
Instead, Miller wants his team to be measured and disciplined in their approach to challenging Graham Arnold’s outfit on their home turf, believing that if the Jets play in a considered and controlled way against their hosts they can return to the Hunter with a campaign supporting result to their credit.
“It won’t play any factor in terms of our motivation,” Miller said regarding the aforementioned incidents. “We’ve moved on from it.”
“It’s about individual maturity and it’s in the past.”
“Mark [Birighitti] has moved on from it and his performances have improved since then as well --- he’s become more commanding in his area and more of a leader.”
“It’s about discipline for 90 minutes plus extra time, and I think we competed with them [Sydney FC] that day [round 2].”
“If we can be in the right mentality going into the game, not just playing on transition but looking to control it in terms of possession, and frustrate them in and out of possession, it might be a good night for the club.”
“It’s away from home at the Allianz against a strong team with a lot of marquees … who have a lot of influence individually, but we have got a different vibe here, we’re positive, and we go away from home with a mindset to compete.”
While Miller’s Jets --- like every Hyundai A-League team --- go into every game intending to win, he believes that any result on the road in the Hyundai A-League is a considerable achievement and should be acknowledged as such.
“I always like points away from home, I think it’s a step in the right direction and I always look at it as a point gained and two points lost for the opposition,” he said.
“Certainly in my time in Europe [with Fulham FC] that was the case. A point from home you would be celebrating because that would be a great achievement.” Meanwhile, Miller noted that captain Nigel Boogaard will miss the match against Sydney FC due to injury, though believes his skipper will be available for selection when the club hosts Melbourne City at Hunter Stadium on Sunday 13 December.
The news is better for the Jets’ Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic --- the former FC Bunyodkor goal-getter is available for selection against Sydney.
On Daniel Mullen’s injury status, Miller said: “Daniel Mullen is looking well. He is actually ahead of schedule which is pleasing. It’s nice to see him back around the training ground and on the training ground itself. We’re not putting a time on his return at this point. We just want him to focus on his rehabilitation.”
Please click here to view Miller’s preliminary 18-man squad for Friday’s match against Sydney FC.
Sydney FC vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 9
Date: Friday 4 December 2015
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Television: LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505 and SBS2
Radio: LIVE 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Grandstand, & Crocmedia
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #SYDvNEW & #TogetherWeCanSoar