Youth preparations on track

Tuesday, 9 October 2012 1:01 PM

Youth preparations on track

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets National Youth League head coach Clayton Zane says the Jets youth team are close to finalising their squad for the 2012/13 NYL season.

The young Jets open their campaign against the Central Coast Mariners in Tuggerah on Sunday, October 21 and Zane said he only has a handful of positions left to fill.

“We’re only a few weeks into the preparation and we’ve focused mainly on conditioning,” Zane said.

“This week we’ll look to confirm the squad, get the train-on players added in and focus a bit more on the tactical side of things.

“We prefer to go with local-based players so we’ll have a look at some of the NSWIS boys and some younger ones as well.

“We’ll probably end up with a squad of around 15, but we’ll obviously have some first teamers coming back to play with us each week as well.”

Zane said having a core group of players in the squad who played in this year’s NBN State League would prove crucial to the chemistry of the team.

“It’s a four week pre-season and for two weeks of that, half the group isn’t here,” he said.

“With that in mind, it’s good to have some players around who already know the system.

“It’s going to be a pretty steep learning curve for the others who need to get on board straight away with what we’re trying to do.

“They’re here for their development on a technical level as well as a tactical level. You give the ones that show the technical side a bit more time to get the tactical stuff right.”

Zane said the young Jets will be looking to improve on their eighth-placed finish last season.

“There are a couple of players who qualify for youth team level but are training full time with the first team, guys like Jack Duncan, Mitch Cooper and Mitch Oxborrow,” he said.

“We’ll be competitive and looking to hopefully finish in the top three or four.”

Which Newcastle Jets off-season signing are you most excited about?