The Newcastle Jets have just 12 players contracted for next season but head coach, Phil Stubbins, remains unfazed by the massive recruiting job ahead.
The Jets picked up the wooden spoon in the 2014-2015 A-League season and saw a host of players depart during the campaign. In total 20 players have left Newcastle since Stubbins took over in 2014.
Last week local juniors Taylor Reagan and James Virgili were released, while Allan Welsh, Sam Gallager, Travis Cooper, John Solari and veteran midfielder Zenon Caravella were not re-signed.
Stubbins is currently in Europe on a 10-day scouting trip and is looking for creative players and goal-scorers for the available marquee spots.
“You don’t need to look further than Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC to identify the strengths of recruiting quality marquees to your roster,” Stubbins told FourFourTwo.
“Both clubs finished first and second on the ladder respectively and it’s no coincidence that these clubs have top quality marquees on their books.
“It makes a huge difference if you can get the appropriate marquees into your club. The stats will tell you that we haven’t scored enough goals in recent times and defensively you can obviously always improve.
“Therefore, without sounding too clichéd we’d like to improve both defensively and offensively.”
The Jets squad is currently down to the bare bones. South Melbourne’s Andy Brennan has been snapped up for the next two campaigns, along with Adelaide United defender Nigel Boogard.
Daniel Mullen, Enver Alivodic and Lee Ki-je will also be at the club next season along with existing squad members Ben Kantarovski, Josh Barresi, Scott Neville, Jacob Peper, Mitch Cooper, Radovan Pacicevic and Ben Kennedy.
Stubbins said he has learned a lot from the club’s recruitment last year and the quality of the A-League competition.
“Without a clinical approach to your list management, you can very quickly fall short of the teams at the top end of the competition by getting your recruitment wrong,” he said.
“I’ve learnt a lot from last year’s recruitment and I’m certainly much more aware of the processes necessary to allow for bringing the best mix of players together.
“The young boys that we already have here have welcomed the participation they’ve had in the second half of the campaign and they’ve learnt so much from those opportunities.
“They’ll be better off as a consequence of those experiences and along with some new signings we plan to put together the most balanced squad possible across the average age of the squad.”
Instability rocked the Hunter club over the past eight months, on and off the field, but Stubbins doesn’t believe finding the right players for the new campaign will be a concern.
“We’ll try hard to fill the roster throughout the course of time and we’ll be patient to make sure that we’ve provided enough due diligence on all of our new signings,” he said.
“There’s also been a significant amount inquiry from agents representing their players to investigate joining the Jets. There is a strong recognition out there that we have an opportunity to be much improved next season.
“The facilities and supporter base here at the Newcastle Jets are fantastic and we have a genuine interactive eye on improving ourselves across the entire football department and as a club generally.
“We certainly want to impact ourselves into next season’s A-League campaign in a much-improved fashion. Everyone is striving to exhaust all avenues to allow the Newcastle Jets to compete more effectively than we have done in recent times.
“We most definitely want to put in place a squad that our fans, members and shareholders can think very positively about and attach real hope to our prospects of doing well.”comments