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A-League: Focused Jets staying ground on finals mission

Focused: Roy O’Donovan at Newcastle Jets training on Tuesday. Picture: Simone De PeakROY O’Donovan declared on day oneat the Newcastle Jets that he had joined the club to play finals football.

Newcastlehad not long collected the wooden spoon and hadn’t featured in an A-League post-season in seven years.Unperturbed, the Irishman made his intent known from the get-go.

Fast-forward nine months–15 wins,50 points and second place–theJets are on the eve of fulfilling that mission.

They host Melbourne City in a grand final qualifier at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.

However, O’Donovan won’tbe satisfied unless they takeat least one step further.

“I am excited about finals football, I am excited about the possibilities, but I am not getting carried away,” O’Donovan said.“You still have to do your job.Bigger teams than the Newcastle Jets have been turned over by getting carried away with themselves. That is not going to happen here.Nobody wants to go out in the semi-final. Sometimes the semi-final is more important than the final in a way.Ifwe play the way we have played this year, and toour strengths, I don’t have any fear.”

Fever pitch. @NewcastleJetsFC striker Roy O’Donovan has played a cup final at Wembley and in Asia but this will be his first in the @ALeague. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/EytlWF2clM

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) April 24, 2018TweetFacebookRoy O’Donovan back in the groove at @NewcastleJetsFC training ahead of @ALeague final v @[email protected]南京夜网/0fMQAWsHgU

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) April 24, 2018Finishing School. Dimi finds the net @NewcastleJetsFC training. @[email protected]南京夜网/Er7CBtMILa

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) April 24, 2018

“I feel good,” he said“I’mfinallycatching back up from all the injuries,” he said.“I think the team has mirrored that. The past couple of weeks we have gotten better and learned some lessons. We went back to basics a little bit against the Mariners.When we have played well this year, the likes of Dimi Petratos, Ronny Vargas and SteveUgarkovic have been on their game and we have defended well. When we do that wehave been a very hard team to play against. We have a lot of energy and I expect that on Friday night.”

Jets captain Nigel Boogaard (leg) and marquee Vargas (groin)trained strongly on Tuesday and barring a mishap will play on Friday night.

“Nigelis a very important player for us,” O’Donovan said.“Him and Topor-Stanley together are a really tough act to play against.People are back to full fitness and looking good.We need as much experience on the field as possible.”

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