THE Newcastle Jets owe the Central Coast Mariners.
And they won’t get a better shot at retribution than on Sunday at Hunter Stadium.
After the Mariners were second best for most of the two clubs’ opening-round clash in Gosford, striker Mitch Duke bobbed up at the death for the home side to snatch a winner and steal three points.
It remains the Mariners’ lone victory for the campaign.
The Jets are yet to win in seven rounds and sit in ninth spot on three points, two points and two places below their fierce rivals.
‘‘Revenge is a nice word to use,’’ Jets coach Phil Stubbins said. ‘‘What better place to do it than at our own stadium.
‘‘The first game we probably had a good period in terms of possession and everything else. We had our opportunities to win the game, but it wasn’t to be.
‘‘The Mariners are coming here with situations of their own they will want to resolve.
‘‘For both teams it is a very big game. The Mariners, from memory, are in a position I don’t think they have been in before. They won’t like it.
‘‘We need to show what we are about, go out there and represent the shirt in the right way.’’
Mariners coach Phil Moss said the season-opening win highlighted the importance of keeping a clean sheet.
‘‘If you keep a clean sheet, you are always a chance of winning the game,’’ he said.
‘‘The really impressive thing that day was we found a way to win.
‘‘We are a completely different football side to what we were in round one. We are playing better football, more consistent football and are asking a lot more questions of opposition defences.’’
Apart from kick-starting their season, the Jets have the added motivation of making amends for the abysmal 4-0 loss to Brisbane in front of their home fans a fortnight ago.
‘‘Thankfully we put up a better performance last week [in the 1-1 draw with Wanderers] and can now eradicate the memory of the Brisbane game,’’ Stubbins said.
‘‘We are certainly ready for Central Coast and are looking for three points.’’
After skipper John Hutchinson riled the Jets with his assertion that the Central Coast were the superior club, Moss continued the mind games on Friday.
‘‘When you cop four goals in your last performance at home, it does leave some scars,’’ Moss said. ‘‘Hopefully their confidence will be rattled, because the supporters got on their back that night.
‘‘We have to make sure we start brightly and ask questions from the start, be prepared to go to war together and back each other up.
‘‘It’s a derby. This game means a hell a lot to us as a club and our supporters.
‘‘We have to be prepared to go out there and fight tooth and nail and run through brick walls for each other.
‘‘If we win the physical battle, I have no doubt we have the quality to get the three points.’’
For the Jets, Scott Neville returns from a groin issue at right back and Joel Griffiths has fully recovered from an infected toe.
‘‘Scott Neville is much better for the rest,’’ Stubbins said.
‘‘Joel is back in full training and is on edge, which is a good sign. He has some real fire in the belly. It is always good when you have a goal-scorer who is keen and eager to get on the score sheet.
‘‘The good thing to come out of last week was that we are all united here. There is a belief in the squad.’’
The Mariners have lost Nick Montgomery to suspension and Matt Simon is set to make his first appearance for the A-League campaign.
‘‘It is great to have Matty Simon in the group,’’ Moss said. ‘‘He licks his lips in anticipation of a derby in Newcastle.
‘‘He and Hutch are the two longest-standing Mariners and epitomise what the club is about.
‘‘We know they have some real threats in the front half, and we have to make sure our defensive structure is good.
‘‘Flores is one of them. Jeronimo Neumann, Dave Carney, Edson Montano – they are all players who can hurt you.
‘‘We have to make sure we stick to our structures, stay disciplined and give our quality on the ball a chance to bubble to the surface.’’
AAP reports: Western Sydney goalkeeper Ante Covic admits the Asian champions are still getting to grips with being a big scalp for A-League opponents.
Wanderers are searching for their first win of the season and host bitter rivals Sydney FC on Saturday night in a sell-out clash at Pirtek Stadium.
‘‘You don’t become champions of Asia and expect everyone to sit on their backsides and admire us,’’ Covic said.
‘‘We’ve been successful for two years having been absolutely nowhere three years ago.
‘‘Teams come over here and look at us in a different light now. We have an amazing atmosphere here, amazing support and are definitely a notch on other teams’ belts.’’
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