Tough challenge awaits Newcastle Jets

Craig Goodwin says the Jets are expecting Western Sydney Wanderers to provide them with a stern test on Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets player Craig Goodwin says the Jets are expecting Western Sydney Wanderers to provide them with a stern test when the two sides meet at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

After a slow start to the season, the Wanderers have picked up two wins from their last two matches and will go into this weekend-s clash with the Jets full of confidence.

“They-re looking to be a well-structured side and have picked up two good results from their last two games,” Goodwin said.

“It-s definitely going to be a tough game and hopefully we can be at the top of our game and pick up the three points.”

While many people wrote off the A-League-s newest Club before the start of the season, Goodwin said he had not been surprised by their recent success.

“It-s a very even competition and I think that any team on any given day has a chance of beating everyone,” he said.

“Western Sydney were always going to be a decent side, especially with Shinji Ono coming in. He-s going to be a key player for them, but hopefully we can shut him down.”

Goodwin was this week announced as the first nominee for the 2012/13 NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

The 20-year-old said he-d been pleased with his efforts so far this season.

“My first couple of games have been better than the last couple of games I-ve played,” he said.

“I-ve just got to keep working hard because I guess as you get noticed more players are going to know what you-re about and sort of know the way you play.

“I-ve got to adapt to that as well and hopefully I can pick up my performances again in the coming weeks and get the results.”

With Dominik Ritter out with a quadriceps injury against Perth, Goodwin filled in at the left-fullback position.

While Goodwin admitted to being more comfortable further up the park, he said he is happy to play wherever he can best help the team.

“I-m happy anywhere in the side as long as I-m getting a game. I-m much more comfortable going forward, so really wherever Gary wants to play me, I-ll play.”

After featuring for Melbourne Heart primarily as a youth team player last season, Goodwin said he feels he is adapting well to playing at A-League level week-in, week-out.

“It-s what I always wanted to be playing professional football consistently and I-ve got that now,” he said.

“With the amount of travel you do in the A-League that-s always something that puts pressure on all the teams.

“I-m still learning to recover on that side of things and if you-ve got an injury sometimes it can be a bit more difficult, but it-s not too hard and I think I can manage it quite well.”