HIRED gun Roy O’Donovan has promised to deliver the Jets what only two players in the club’s history have been able to produce – consistent goals.
What’s more the high-octane Irish striker hopes to kick off the campaign against his old club, the Central Coast Mariners.
Football Federation Australia are expected to release the 2016-17 A-League draw this week.
“If we got the Mariners in round one, it would be the perfect draw for me,” O’Donovan said after his first session in Jets colours on Monday. “I have had a bit of controversy in my career. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I had a great relationship with [Mariners coach] Paulo and had built up a great rapport with the fans down there. Football is my job. I feel, even after day one, this is the right move.”
O’Donovan was the Mariners’ leading goal-scorer last season with 11.
The Jets have only had two players, Joel Griffiths and Adam Taggart, notch double figures in 12 years.
Griffiths hit the target 12 times in the regular season, and another two during the finals, in the 2007-08 championship campaign.
Taggart netted 16 goals in 2013-14 to claim the Golden Boot and win a place in the Socceroos squad for the World Cup but it wasn’t enough to take the Jets to the finals.
“That is a responsibility I am excited by,” O’Donovan said. “You set out wanting to do better than the year before. Once the season gets going, maybe seven or eight games, you know where you stand. You make a target then. That is what I promised to bring – a lot of energy to the shirt and some goals.”
O’Donovan, 31, is one of two new faces along with Dimi Petratos in the front third and coach Ernie Merrick is on the hunt for another attacking midfielder.
“To score goals what you need is plenty of service,” O’Donovan said. “With Nabbout, Petratos and an attacking midfielder to come it looks good. Steve Ugarkovic, Devante Clut, Aleksandr Kokko, they can influence games in different ways. If everything goes right behind me, we will surprise a lot of people.”
As well as goals, O’Donovan, who played at former Premier League club Sunderland, will bring leadership and hunger.
“I am ambitious and still have aspirations of playing for my country,” the former Ireland under-21 player said. “I could have easily signed for a couple more years at the Mariners, coasted along, nice lifestyle, but that is not me. I’m here to win things and threaten to win things. If you went up to mid February, you would say the Jets aren’t far away. Add five or six on to that who know this league and have won things in this league, a new manager ... the club is starting to structure itself right.”
O’Donovan, who is joined by wife, Ellen, and infant son, Alfie, has struck up an instant relationship with his new teammates.
“They probably thought a lunatic was turning up this morning,” O’Donovan said. “I am just a normal guy. I play hard, but I am pretty quiet off the pitch. I was very impressed with the session. Everyone has come back in good condition which bodes well. I come from playing at the Mariners for the past two years where there was me and Nick Montgomery and the rest were kids.”
The Jets unveiled a new training strip on Monday which coincided with confirmation of a three-year partnership with Adelaide-based sportswear supplier Viva. New playing jerseys, which will feature the same blue, red and gold colour scheme, will be launched in September.