When Jets boss Scott Miller was an employee at Fulham Football Club in London, matches over the festive season would come thick and fast.Indeed, for clubs in the United Kingdom, the Christmas and New Year’s period is one of the busiest times of the season in terms of matches, with crowds flocking to fixtures to barrack for their boys.
This Hyundai A-League campaign the Jets will venture to Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta for one of the most unique matches on this season’s schedule --- a Christmas Eve cracker against the well-followed Western Sydney Wanderers.
It’s obvious then that Miller is excited by the thought of travelling to ‘Wanderland’ for the pre-Christmas contest in front of the raucous RBB, and he reckons everyone involved with the club ought to be, too.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Miller said of this Thursday’s match which kicks off at 7:00pm and will be shown live on both FOX SPORTS 505 and SBS TWO.
“Challenge or not it’s exciting. When you go in to play in an atmosphere like that against a team that is performing to the level they are then there is only one thing you can do, and that is step up.”
“We’re going to play a team that started the season in a difficult situation that have turned it around.”
“They’ve got great rhythm now, they’ve got great goalscoring credit to their team, and I think to go down on Christmas Eve and play against a top side like Western Sydney is fantastic.”
“At their home ground they’ve got great support, but we’re going down there with a great focus to compete and win the match,” he said.
Miller’s Jets could potentially be bolstered by a former Wanderer --- defender Daniel Mullen --- for Thursday’s match.
Mullen has been out with a knee injury since early November having played an integral role in Newcastle’s start to Hyundai A-League season 11, but resumed full training this week and is a chance of featuring against the Club with whom he won the 2014 AFC Champions League.
With Jason Hoffman suspended for the away day in Sydney’s west, Miller would undoubtedly like to be able to call upon Mullen, but the shrewd tactician says he won’t throw caution to the wind if Mullen is not undeniably ready to participate.
“It’s going to be close for Daniel [Mullen], but he’s not a certainty,” Miller explained. “He’s been very professional in his own rehab and his attention to detail, and hence this is the reason he has trained this week.”
“He’s actually a week ahead of schedule which is very pleasing --- it shows his determination to get back and help the team.”
“If he is available he will be up for selection, but it’s down to his performance over the next two days.”
“I am not putting Daniel under too much pressure [to play] because as I said he is a week ahead of schedule and it’s not a situation of putting people in risky situations just to play one game before Christmas, because we’ve actually got that break over Christmas where he can have three days of recovery.”
“It’s about keeping players fit for the long term,” Miller 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