Boogaard believes Hoole is key to Jets taking off

Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard has nominated Andrew Hoole at the top of a list of players he believes can engineer a finals run for the Jets this season.

FFA Cup Round of 32 - Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory

Hoole in control during the FFA Cup Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Hoole was regarded as one of the hottest young prospects in the competition two seasons ago during his first stint with Newcastle.

Sydney FC went after him, managing to entice him away at the end of the 2014-2015 season with coach Graham Arnold saying his potential was enormous and that he had big plans for him.

But, for whatever reason, it didn't work out for Hoole at the Sky Blues and his two-year contract was terminated by mutual consent at the end of last season.

He returned to familiar surroundings at the Jets, who took the view that if he was a highly promising player before he wouldn't have lost that ability and can still hit the heights.

Boogaard told The World Game it was just a matter of using the attacker the right way.

"The most exciting thing, for me, is bringing back Andrew Hoole," he said.

"I think 'Hooley' can really do some damage in this league with the right guidance and the sort of system that will suit him."

The challenge for newly appointed Jets coach Mark Jones is to find the right position while maximising his talent. In the past he has played on the wing or come out of a deeper role in midfield and the manager needs to quickly establish what is best for both the player and the team in that regard.

Another challenge for the 22 year-old will be improving on is his goal scoring record, having managed just one in his 65 A-League games, and that was from the penalty spot.

But there is no doubting Hoole's ability and since he turns just 23 on October 22 he still has his whole career in front of him.

Boogaard nominated half-a-dozen other players he anticipated would be prominent in leading a charge for the Jets.

"Morten Nordstrand, with a full pre-season after arriving here halfway through last season, will be a handful," he said.

"Steven Ugarkovic can hopefully take his game to another level this year.

"Also Andrew Nabbout and Devante Clut, two really good young players who have come here from other clubs and are exciting. It's an opportunity for them to stamp their name on the A-League.

"On top of that we've got two foreigners who have got great pedigrees.

"Wayne Brown, from the UK, has been playing in Scandanavia and he's a class act and can play a number of roles or us. He's also a really positive character around the change-room.

"And our big striker, Aleksandr Kokko. He's going to make an impact. Some people describe him as being a bit unorthodox, but I guarantee he'll be difficult for defenders."

Newcastle have had a tumultuous off-season, with the sacking of Scott Miller as coach. He was recently replaced by Mark Jones and Boogaard said the players had moved quickly to adapt.

"It was a difficult transition that came out of left-field for us, but the beauty of this team is that there are a lot of strong characters in it and we're very close, so when something like this does happen we pull together," he said.

"If anything, this experience has made us stronger as a unit and hopefully we can put that on the park.

"We're professionals and at the end of the day we've got a job to do and for me the message to the group is that regardless of anything else we're here to represent the community and make sure we do that with pride and honour.

"That's been the message from the start and now 'Jonesy' has come in and he's a local and been around the club before and he knows the football community, he knows the environment, and he wants to bring those glory days back to the club.

"It's about the boys adapting quickly to the way he wants to play and it has been good so far. Jonesy  has been in charge for a couple of weeks and there are a lot of positives. We're excited for round one, there's a lot of hype around now.

"We have a confidence within the group that we believe we've got the quality in the change-room to actually do something special this year."

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4 min read
Published 6 October 2016 at 10:59am
By Greg Prichard