Miller urges Jets to make big statement


Nanjing Night Net

Jets coach Scott Miller talks to the players on Monday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NEWCASTLE coach Scott Miller wants the Jets to make a statement against Perth Glory in the FFA Cup round of 32 showdown at Magic Park on Tuesday night.

A win would send the strongest message.

‘‘Winning has to be the aim,’’ Miller said after the Jets finalised preparations with a short, sharp session at Ray Watt on Tuesday.

‘‘It will give us momentum moving forward.

‘‘It’s important but not vital, even though that is a contradiction in a sense.

‘‘The winning mentality I need to see. The competitiveness. We need to replicate our work on the training field in terms of our intensity.

‘‘If I see instances of the patterns we want to play in and out of possession, I’ll be happy.

‘‘More importantly, I will be happy with a result.’’

The match is Miller’s first competitive hit-out at the helm since plucked from Fulham on the recommendation of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou as a replacement for Phil Stubbins.

‘‘It’s not about me, it’s not about one person, it’s about the team,’’ Miller said. ‘‘We will be measured as a group.’’

The start of the A-League season is two months away.

But in a sign of the growing stature of the FFA Cup, Miller will field close to his strongest side against a Glory outfit which has also undergone a major overhaul.

Enver Alivodic, who arrived from Serbia a week ago and is short of peak condition, moves back to the bench for Brandon Lundy in the only change to the Jets XI, which lost 2-1 to Central Coast in a friendly last Wednesday.

‘‘Straight after the game, I was disappointed with the result,’’ Miller said.

‘‘But having reviewed it and looking at how we played, there were a lot of positives.

‘‘I actually thought we had more purpose and penetration to our play.’’

The Mariners’ goals came from an error by the Jets playing out from the back and a lapse in concentration at a corner.

‘‘In the grand scheme of things, with more rhythm and more games behind us those mistakes would not be made,’’ Miller said.

The Jets are the only Northern NSW Football representative remaining in the knockout after National Premier League teams Broadmeadow Magic went down 3-1 to Heidelberg United and Edgeworth fell 2-1 at the death to Melbourne City.

‘‘I want 5000 people there,’’ Miller said.

‘‘I can’t see any reason if it is a nice evening in Newcastle why people wouldn’t come and support the team.

‘‘I’m hoping the FFA Cup environment will stimulate them mentally and get them over the line and actually perform for 90 minutes.’’

Glory striker Andy Keogh scored a goal in each half to lead the visitors to a 2-0 win over the Jets in the corresponding game last year.

The Northern Ireland international is among a number of players who have departed Perth in the fall-out from the West Australians’ salary cap breech.

‘‘We have analysed them to a degree,’’ Miller said.

‘‘We can look at last season’s structure.

‘‘I know Kenny well and I don’t think his structure will change completely.

‘‘Obviously the personnel will in terms of who and where and how they play.’’

Glory reached the final of the FFA Cup last season, going down to 1-0 Adelaide United, and coach Kenny Lowe is aiming for a repeat of their strong performance.

‘‘Why can’t we do what we did last year? I don’t know. We’re still here believing,’’ Lowe said.

Probable team (4-2-3-1): Mark Birighitti; Jason Hoffman, Daniel Mullen, Nigel Boogaard, Lee Ki-je; Mateo Poljak, Cameron Watson; Brandon Lundy, Mitch Cooper, David Carney; Labinot Haliti Res: Ben Kennedy, Lachlan Jackson, Ben Kantarovski, Enver Alivodic, Braedyn Crowley.

Scott Miller. Picture: Phil Hearne

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