Newly appointed Newcastle head coach Phil Stubbins is on the hunt for a new striker and an attacking midfielder to boost the Jets’ firepower for next season.
Stubbins told FourFourTwo he wants the A-league outfit to play a possession-based style and is also targeting another central defender and an addition to his coaching staff.
The 51-year old was appointed as Newcastle coach at the start of May after two years in the Thai Premier League.
“I like to play with the ball, obviously it’s going to be a possession-based brand of football once we get the ball,” Stubbins said.
“And we don’t have it we’re going to be a team that works extremely hard to win it back.
“There are no magic formulas in terms of playing the game, it’s pretty simple really, we want to be very, very good without the ball and on the flipside of that just as good when we do get it.
“I’d like to really spread the goals around - I don’t think we had enough goalscorers at the club last year that chipped in enough goals.
“So I think we try to influx some players into the team and the squad that can help us in that area.
“Obviously having a full pre-season with the players and getting the opportunity to get some things cast in stone in terms of how we want to play, the objectives we want to achieve, I think we’ll be fine.”
Marquee striker Emile Heskey has left the Jets and doubt remains around the future of Socceroo Adam Taggart, who top-scored in the A-League last season with 16 goals.
Attacking midfielder James Brown has joined Melbourne Heart and fringe first-team forward Joey Gibbs has also departed the club.
“Emile’s moved on, he was somebody who was thought of very highly at the club and was a character who represented himself very well,” Stubbins said.
“We’re looking to bring somebody in who can again tip in with the goals alongside Adam Taggart.
“We’ve resigned Joel Griffiths who came in at the back end of the season. I’ve also signed David Carney and we’re looking to bring in another striker and also an attacking midfield player.
“We really do want to score goals, we want to play in a really proactive way. We need the weapons in the team to allow us to go ahead and create those problems in the front end.”
Socceroo trio Josh Brilliante, Mark Birighitti and Taggart have all been flagged with overseas moves in the past but Stubbins said there has been no change yet on their contract situations.
“Josh Brilliante and Mark Birighitti are there for the Jets moving forward from the first day of pre-season so they’re a couple of players we feel will be with us,” he said. We certainly don’t want to lose those two talents.
“Adam Taggart’s another player who potentially will move away from the club for good things, but as we speak we’ve had nothing tabled for (him).
“So for us it’s business as usual and unless something changes we’d expect Adam to be representing the Jets come the first game of next season.”
Stubbins, a former assistant coach at Adelaide United, is close to signing a defender to replace Connor Chapman and will also make a backroom hiring following the departures of assistant coaches Craig Deans and Bob Caitlin.
The Jets have also been linked to former Western Sydney Wanderers centre back Michael Beauchamp.
“We’re down the road with somebody, in terms of the centre back position,” Stubbins said.
“That’ll be another few days before we sort of conclude that deal. But if it comes to fruition it’ll certainly be a player who represents the club in the right way.”
Stubbins said he was looking forward to working with former interim coach, Clayton Zane, who took over the helm in January following the departure of coach Gary van Egmond.
“Clayton comes across as a terrific character, certainly he has got a very good football brain and he’s someone that’s been aware of the landscape at the Jets for the past few seasons now,” Stubbins said.
“So I’ll be looking to lean on him as much as I can and I’m certainly very happy to have him here.
“We’ve got Michael Bridges who’s been promoted as well into the coaching ranks and another person with experience for me to fall back on.”
Stubbins said discussions were “ongoing” regarding the appointment of a new goalkeeping coach.
“All in all we’re pretty much on track in terms of staff at the club,” he saud.
Nathan Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group, the owner of the Jets, recently relinquished control of the NRL club the Newcastle Knights because of financial problems but Stubbins told FourFourTwo it’s business as usual for the Jets.
“Obviously Nathan’s moved on from the Newcastle Knights now, so from a selfish perspective I’m hoping Nathan puts a bit more attention into the Jets and we’re sort of seen as his baby of Newcastle, so to speak, and we can lean on Nathan as much as we need to,” he said.comments