PATIENCE has never been a strong suit for Jets livewire Reno Piscopo.
And while the game-breaker is confident that he could start against his former club Wellington at Sky Stadium on Saturday, he understands if coach Rob Stanton takes a conservative approach.
Piscopo made an eye-catching return, playing 32 minutes off the bench, in the 2-0 loss to Melbourne City on Sunday, which followed a three-month lay-off with a calf issue.
"It was a great feeling to be involved and back out there with the boys," the 25-year-old said. "The emotions that come with it. I just want to get out on the pitch and play. That is what I love doing. I understand I have to be patient at the same time.
"Match fitness is very different to training. By getting minutes in, it is the only way I am going to get 100 per cent fit. I'm nearly there, but I have to be patient.
"I know I can help the team. That is up to Rob. If he thinks I can start and do the job, I always put my hand up. I want to play football and help the team out."
The Jets have missed Piscopo's ability to get between the lines and run at defenders.
He hurt the calf in pre-season and then suffered a setback. The result has been a long-frustrating road back.
"Mentally it was hard," he said."That has been the main struggle for me. You come to training knowing that you are not involved. You are on the sidelines and in the gym by yourself. It can get dark. Now I'm with the team and back to normal. I'm the happiest when I am out playing my football."
Piscopo was the form player of the competition mid last season when struck down by a groin injury, which wiped out seven games.
The Jets' form fell away without him as they missed the play-offs.
He said the belief in the group remained strong under Stanton despite losing consecutive games to the Mariners (3-1) and City (2-0).
"In the second half [against City], we didn't come out strong enough," Piscopo said. "We have to stay positive. There are 21 games to go in the season. We still have time to turn it around. Rob has come in and we still have to learn, focus on what he wants and what we can do as a team."
Piscopo spent three successful years at Wellington before joining the jets last season and has been impressed by the start from Phoenix, who are now under the control of former assistant Giancarlo Italiano, who is universally known as Chiefy.
"Chiefy is doing a really good job," he said. "Wellington are a good team, but we have to go there confident and not fear them."
In a boost for the Jets, striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos trained strongly on Wednesday and is on track to return from a hamstring injury.
However, Brandon O'Neill had a stomach bug and missed the session as did French midfielder Jason Berthomier (knee).