The new Jets membership drive began in earnest as we push for the championship this year
The pre-season is now over, and it’s time to get the Hyundai A-League underway. But first, let’s have a look at the pre-season is some detail. First up, how I manoeuvred in the transfer market.
First of all, let’s see who I offhauled. Obviously, to sign some players in the A-League you must first release some due to the salary cap and at the end of the financial year 2 players’ contracts were not renewed; Angelo Charisteas
and Josh Mitchell
. Charisteas was simply a short term replacement for an injured Heskey and I never planned on keeping him, whilst Mitchell was ageing and really struggled to break into a very good defence. Mitchell is now enjoying life at Sydney United whilst Charisteas is wanted by Perth Glory.
My first sale of the window was versatile defender Kew Jaliens
, who over the course of his stay had played multiple bit-part roles, including centre back, right back and defensive midfielder. The 36 year old was being pursued by Dutch club Roda JC, and when they offered 40K including 12K in monthly instalments I gladly accepted and sold a useful but ageing defender in Jaliens.
Second was Zenon Caravella
, who simply could not make an impact in my strong central midfield and also was chewing up wages. I sold him to Ascoli for 13k which not only freed up some wages but allowed me to make a major incoming deal for the club….
Now for the big signings! This time around I was a lot more active in the market and made 5 signings plus 1 future signing. Let’s start with the future signing.
Potentially my best piece of business in FM ever
, this young Kiwi right back has the potential to be an EPL starter and I managed to get him for just 150k. He is already capable of playing in my first XI at just 17, and he has over a year of gametime to improve at his club until he transfers over. His determination is amazing, as is his technicals especially for such a young age. In a team with no true right backs, Chote will become the future of this team- as long as I can keep Europe away.
My first signing was undoubtedly my best and I managed to sign not only an Australian legend but a current international as well in Carl Valeri. His experience and all round technical ability will be vitally important to us as will his ability in the air. The best player on the team now, hopefully he can deliver on the pitch where it counts.
Next I realised I had very little depth in defense after the sale of Jaliens and the releasing of Mitchell, so I brought in the versatile Bosschart as a rotation option. He’s capable of playing at left back, left wing back, defensive midfield and centre back and will probably sit on the bench as my defensive sub.
As I mentioned in an earlier update, Adam Taggart is now on the transfer list so I needed a suitable back-up for Emile Heskey, preferably one with as much influence and experience as da beast himself. I found him in Admir Rascic, a Bosnian international who is not as strong or good in the air as Heskey but is far better setting up the play, which is good in the closing stages of matches which is when Rascic will typically be brought on.
With Alex Henshall returning to Manchester City, I found myself with little depth at left wing so I decided to bring in M’Haidat, a back up left winger with buckets of potential but little determination. Although not as quick as Henshall, he has far better technicals and I’m hoping he can bring the same youthfulness to the team as Henshall did.
Like Bosschart, Bowles has been brought in for the sole purpose of defensive back up. The only true right back in the senior squad, young Daniel will be a back up and doesn’t offer much in the way of attributes. However, he also doesn’t use up too much wage bill either so I’m not complaining.
So, those are the transfers for the pre-season. Now for the pre-season results, and first let’s look at the fixture list.
On the first day back, I decided to run the team through their paces against the youth, before some tough matches against 2 A-League teams. Then we settled down into some easy games against smaller clubs. Let’s have a look at the matches in detail.
A very underdone team was sent out on the first day of pre-season to play in the intra club friendly. The match was extremely dull until substitute Admir Rascic finally broke the deadlock and won us the game with a headed corner on the 91st minute. The youth team only hit 2 shots the entire game, but I feel my new signings are yet to prove themselves.
The first real test of our pre-season came 10 days later when we travelled south to play the Wanderers. Craig Goodwin’s great goal in the 66th minute almost secured the win for us, but then when my substitutes all came on and I had a completely different XI, I conceded in the 90th minute and the Wanderers got a lucky 1-1 draw. I am confident that wouldn’t happen in a league situation, so I’m happy with this game.
A very hit and miss match, we decided to play a counter-attacking style of football against Adelaide United who had been our bogey team last season. Bruce Djite scored in the first half and left us trailing at HT, but then young Samuel Gallaway scored a header in the 53rd minute and gave us some belief. Adelaide left back Cassio double yellowed in the 77th minute and then the players went in for the kill, with a pearl of a goal from Carl Valeri putting us in front and then Emile putting the icing on the cake in injury time. A very comprehensive, never-say-die attitude which I love and hope continues into next season.
We played a crappy team for the first time this season, and duly dominated the game from start to finish as they failed to register a single shot. A very professional win, something I’d expect in the circumstances.
Complacency springs to mind in this result, as we dominated play but one lapse of concentration meant we conceded an unnecessary goal. Credit must go to Charlestown, 1 shot, 1 goal isn’t too bad.
I think by this stage the boys had had enough of pre-season and were itching to start the real season, as they did the bare minimum to secure victory. Chapman’s 63rd minute header sealed the deal and ensure we were still undefeated come the final game of pre-season.
In the final game of pre-season, da beast Emile Heskey run rampant at Gabbie Stadium and won the game for us, whilst Bosschart scored an OG giving us a 2-1 win and an undefeated pre-season going into the season.
The Road Ahead
So now it’s time for the season to begin, it’s time for another successful year. It’s time for legends to rise. It’s been a good pre-season, some good transfer business. Now to convert that on the field. CARN JETS!