Hamilton coach Peter McGuinness knows better than most what former Jets striker Joel Wood can bring to a team.
That’s part of the reason McGuinness won’t be underestimating Valentine on Friday night (6pm) at Darling Street Oval in round three of the Northern NSW NPL.
Phoenix picked up Wood, who played with Byron Bay last year, late in pre-season and he helped set up their goal on debut in a 2-1 loss to the Jets Youth last Sunday. It was Valentine’s first game of the season and featured the loss of key players Chris Brown (knee) and Zac Sneddon (hamstring) to injury.
McGuinness, though, was wary of Valentine and Wood, who he coached at Hamilton, Lake Macquarie and Magic early in his career.
“He’s got goals in him, he’ll always have chances in him,” McGuinness said of Wood, 33. “I expect it to be a tough game. I don’t expect to be on top of them for long periods at all, but if we get early chances and take them, it’s a whole new game.”
Valentine coach Darren Sills said Wood was “very good value”.
“He’s a lucky pick up for us because he’s very experienced and he’s fitting in well. Hopefully he’ll bang a couple of goals in. The sooner the better.”
Hamilton bounced back from a 3-2 loss to Charlestown to beat Adamstown 1-0, but they lost goalscorer Jed Hornery (hamstring) in the process. Sean Pratt is expected to take his place, while Jake McGuinness and Jacob Bailey (suspension) return.
Also Friday, Maitland host Adamstown and Charlestown are away to Lake Macquarie from 2.30pm.
Lambton Jaffas welcome Weston on Saturday and Broadmeadow take on Edgeworth at Magic Park on Sunday.