Jets look­ing to get on roll

NT News - - SPORT - JON RIT­SON

ADAM Tag­gart won’t find a side in the mood to let him boost his claims for an Asian Cup berth with the Soc­ceroos as his for­mer club New­cas­tle Jets strive to kick­start their sea­son against Bris­bane Roar to­mor­row.

The striker se­cured the ALeague’s golden boot in sea­son 2013-14 while play­ing for the Jets and his form since link­ing up with Roar has him be­ing talked about as a real con­tender for Gra­ham Arnold’s squad as they look to de­fend their ti­tle in the UAE next month.

The Roar striker was an in­jury doubt ahead of to­day’s clash but has been named in John Aloisi’s squad to face Ernie Merrick’s men.

But New­cas­tle’s Ben Kan­tarovski in­sists the oc­ca­sion is not about Tag­gart. It’s about the Jets striv­ing to get the re­sults that they be­lieve their foot­ball de­serves.

“We know about him and while we don’t fo­cus on one player, we must close him down and not give him chances,” Kan­tarovski said.

New­cas­tle has man­aged just one win from its open­ing six games but the ex­pe­ri­enced mid­fielder in­sists it is any­thing but panic sta­tions.

A pal­try re­turn of just five goals in those six games hasn’t helped mat­ters but there’ll be no de­vi­a­tion from the way Ernie Merrick wants to play and the squad be­lief re­mains firmly in­tact.

“I think that’s the thing about our squad, we know that no mat­ter what we’ve al­ways got goals in us and those goals will come as long as we play our style of foot­ball,” Kan­tarovski said.

“We are play­ing some good foot­ball. We’re not down at all. The re­sults will come. We won’t com­pro­mise our style.”

The Jets will be without mar­quee man Ronny Var­gas due to a groin in­jury but Brazil­ian winger Jair is named in the squad af­ter miss­ing last week’s 3-0 de­feat by Mel­bourne City.

Kan­tarovski de­scribed the per­for­mance in that loss as “un­char­ac­ter­is­tic” but said les­sons had been learned.

New­cas­tle goes into the clash boast­ing the wood over its vis­i­tors. The Roar failed to muster a sin­gle point in the three A-League clashes be­tween the teams last sea­son.

“Look, it’s good to know (you’ve beaten a side in the past) but they’ve got a new squad this sea­son,” Kan­tarovski said.

As for the vis­i­tors, they also wel­come French­man Eric Bautheac back into the squad but Ste­fan Mauk misses out through sus­pen­sion.

“We must close him down and not give him chances” BEN kAN­TARoVSkI

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Pic­ture: GETTY

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