Milicic Anticipates Tough Jets Encounter

Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic anticipates a tough encounter when the side travels to the Hunter Valley to face the Newcastle Jets on Friday night.

Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic anticipates a tough encounter when the side travels to the Hunter Valley to face the Newcastle Jets on Friday night.

After an opening game loss to the Mariners at AAMI Park, Milicic believes Heart is primed to bounce back as the team continues its development curve.

However, Milicic is wary of the threat posed by Newcastle, who has recruited strongly over the off-season, signing former Socceroos Kasey Wehrman and Ruben Zadkovich.

Milicic said the addition of the duo will only improve a Jets side which finished fourth last season and shown much promise in round one.

“Newcastle hasn-t had a lot of turnover in players, they just brought a couple in from overseas and they have done well with Kasey Wehrman and Ruben Zadkovich,” he said.

“They are two very strong A-League players. We also have to respect what the Jets did last season, and from what I-ve seen, they look very good.”

He added: “Against Adelaide, they didn-t concede anything defensively, and moving forward, they have a lot of speed, and a number of individuals players there who can turn a game.

“We know we are going to be in for a hard game, but if you look at the first round, without jumping to too many conclusions, there doesn-t seem to be anyone who is behind the pace at this stage.”

Friday night-s encounter will mark the second occasion the two sides have met, with Newcastle overcoming an under strength Heart side 2-1 during the Westpac Community Football Festival in Gippsland.

But given the absence of numerous key players, Milicic said it would be difficult to draw any lessons from the pre-season friendly.

“Friendly games, everyone plays them for different reasons, at different stages,” he said.

“If you look back to our game with the Jets in Morwell a good month ago, I think both teams were missing players, so you don-t really look into it, the game was just a good hit out. When you are playing for points, it is a big difference.”