Newcastle Jets have vowed they won’t be “bullied” by Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night in an A-League clash that threatens to turn ugly at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The return of former Jets coach Carl Robinson and ex-Newcastle attacker Bernie Ibini to the Hunter Region after their controversial off-season defections to Western Sydney will light the fuse for an explosive clash.
Adding further spice to the match was this week’s announcement that Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic will join Robinson and Ibini at the Wanderers next season.
Interim Jets coach Craig Deans felt Newcastle had been shown a lack of “respect” during a tumultuous off-season.
“Things happen and your disappointed that your club has been treated in a certain way,” Deans said.
“I like this club, I’m proud to be a part of this club, and it’s disappointing when possibly people don’t treat it with the respect it deserves.
“You can say all you want to say about off-field issues but we’re coaches, we’re in the same situation now. The players are in the same situation as they were six months ago.”
A message from our Executive Chair, Shane Mattiske, regarding tomorrow night's double header at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Details here ➡️ https://t.co/0SqChObKOy pic.twitter.com/eWvlh61Ypn
However, Deans said Robinson was entitled to coach wherever he wanted.
“Coaches have a short life-span. Carl had an opportunity to go to try himself somewhere else and he took that – there’s no problem with that,” Deans said.
The Jets seemed primed for an inspired performance in front of their home fans, with this week’s news that a consortium of rival A-League club investors would fund Newcastle until a new owner was found being a huge relief.
“We have now got a clear pathway forward with the new ownership group. We don’t need to worry about anything at all, hopefully for the rest of the existence of the club,” Deans said.
“It’s been resolved and we’re all happy and were all just looking forward to playing football now.
“We won’t be pushed around and we won’t be bullied, and we’ll make sure we do everything we can to win the game.
“It’s important for us that we put on a good performance and get three points.”
The return of Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard from suspension is set to further stiffen Newcastle’s resolve after last week’s 1-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners.
“People are named as captains for a reason. It’s because they have a good attitude to winning, they’re proven winners, their communication skills are good, their character’s strong, their physicality’s good, and we lacked that last week,” Deans said.
“The biggest thing for us is to stay focused, not be overly emotional about the situation in the game and make sure that we’re professional, we do the job and we win the game.”
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