STRIKER Roy O'Donovan shapes as key figure for coach Craig Deans in a likely Newcastle Jets rebuild next season.
O'Donovan, one of 14 players off contract, has held informal talks with the club and is confident of securing a new deal.
"The club has asked me about being around next year," O'Donovan said. "We haven't taken it further than that, but Deansy has said it to me a couple of times now that he would like me around next year. I feel good, I feel quick. I can score goals if I get the service, I haven't missed and training sessions or games. Newcastle are my club. I wouldn't like to walk away from a job half done."
Jason Hoffman, Valentino Yuel, Kostra Petratos and Joe Champness, who is due to return from a loan agreement with Brisbane, are the only senior players in the front-third on the Jets books for next season.
Though keen to be part of the revamp, O'Donovan believes the next six games can provide a launch pad.
The last-placed Jets host Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
O'Donovan returns from suspension and, after watching a 3-1 surrender to Melbourne City, believes it is essential that the Jets take the game to the Sky Blues.
"Watching the [City] game, from the first minute is was obvious we weren't getting anything out of the game," O'Donovan said. "We looked negative. There was a little bit of fear factor there. I know Melbourne City are a good team but as players we didn't take the game to them.
"I think the best form of defence is attack. There is no point standing off good players and making them look better. You have to get in amongst it and try to upset their rhythm.
"We have to take the game to them from an attacking point. Actually have a go, create some chances and score goals. That changes mindsets.
"If we stand back and let good players like Luke Brattan and all these lads play the game, it will be difficult.
"It is crucial in the final part of the season that we are aggressive. We have six games to put a positive spin on the season."
O'Donovan has scored five goals in 19 games, which is well below his average of 10 per campaign.
The striker is not the only player whose outlay is down in a difficult season, especially in attack.
"We have to cop some criticism because the results haven't been good enough," O'Donovan said.
"We are owned by four of the richest owners in the A-League. We just need to get the right recruitment next year. It doesn't have to be wholesale changes. We just need a bit of quality.
"When results aren't going well, people think rip up everything, take the badge off and start again. That is not the reality. To build a team it has to happen over time. It doesn't happen over night."
"In the past couple of season we have lost a lot of quality in the attacking third, which is where people tend to spend their money in the A-league. Wes Hoolahan, Bernie Ibini, Dimi Petratos have gone."
Hoolahan made just five appearances for the Jets after breaking his ankle in the FFA Cup quarter-final.
He returned to England and has been a revelation for League Two club Cambridge United, scoring five goals and providing eight assists to propel the U's to the cusp of promotion.
At age 38 he is finalist for the League Two player of the year.
"Wes was a big reason I came back when I did," O'Donovan said. "Wes spraying balls forward. Just that ability to play with your head up and thread balls through lines for attacking players. You cannot buy that."
IN NEWS TODAY:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: