Freescoring Jets ready for tough road tests
NEWCASTLE boss Ernie Merrick will instruct his high-flying Jets to maintain their attacking momentum on a double road trip, on the back of a freescoring run into third place.
The Jets face trips to Adelaide United and Sydney FC, having dispatched Wellington 3-0 on Saturday night to record 13 goals in five games.
Roy O'Donovan's brace took him to seven goals for the season, in a win that made light of the long-term injury to Venezuelan winger Ronald Vargas.
Merrick said his side's attacking intent would not be diminished against Adelaide or Sydney, with the Jets boss keen to see how his side measures up after such an encouraging start to the season.
"One thing I've tried to instil in my players is that it doesn't matter if we're home or away, we're still going for the win," said Merrick.
"We did that against Brisbane Roar (winning 2-1 away) and showed a great attitude. Adelaide are playing well and Sydney seem unbeatable this season, so it's a good challenge at the right time.
"We've had a couple of games at home, now we've set ourselves up to play our best football away from home.
"It's a good challenge and an indication of whether we're getting towards our best and continuing to improve or not.
"I still think teams take eight or nine games to play consistently well. Sydney FC are playing some good football because they have essentially the same team as last year.
"Our first team is half new, but we've shown already that we have some depth to cover injuries."
Daniel Georgievski was missing as well as Vargas on Saturday, and will be out for several weeks with a hamstring tear.
But Merrick took heart from the performance of his forwards, and the composure shown by his side in attack.
"Until the Phoenix game we'd had the most passes in the opposition's final third and I think that game would have boosted that," Merrick said.
"We're getting very good at holding the ball and setting up the right cross or a one-two and a shot on goal."