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Rudan: focus is Saturday’s clash with Jets

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Western United head coach Mark Rudan says his side are taking each challenge as it comes, with the next challenge being Newcastle Jets on Saturday night in Geelong. 

The Green and Black have won three of their opening five games and sit second on the Hyundai A-League table. 

 Rudan admits that it’s a positive feeling around the club, though the group remains humble with the focus on each week’s challenge. 

“It’s a great place to be at the moment,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“The staff enjoy coming to work and being around the players and vice-versa.

“They’ve raised their own bar in terms of their expectations and this week’s been a great week on the training track.

“They’re just looking forward to the next challenge and the next challenge is Newcastle at home.”

The Jets pose a tricky test for United.

A change in personnel from Ernie Merrick’s side will bring an element of unpredictability to GMHBA Stadium.

“It’s interesting because they’ve [Jets] got a couple of players out on international duty.

“That in itself can pose some problems because they’ve played with certain personnel,” explained Rudan. 

“We’ve analyzed them and had a look at their strengths and weaknesses, and we believe that we’ve got a game plan to combat them, and be better at what we do as well.”

United may be without wing-back Josh Risdon on Saturday night, who is set to arrive late into Melbourne from Socceroos duty in Jordan (Australia’s World Cup qualifier is Friday 3AM Melbourne time). 

Rudan, however, believes he has options to replace Risdon should he need to. 

“Dylan Pierias can play in that position.

“Ivan Vujica understands that wing-back role as well albeit a left-footer.

“We have a couple of options that we’ve had a look at.”

Rudan added that Panagiotis Kone’s injury is not as bad as initially thought.

The marquee man was substituted during the first half of last week’s game against the Wanderers but is still a chance to face the Jets.

 “It’s [Kone’s injury] not as bad as first thought.

“If he does miss this game he’s definitely back in the week after.

“He really wants to play this week as well and we’ll give him until game day.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Western United’s next home game is at GMHBA Stadium against Newcastle Jets on Saturday, 16 November at 7.30 pm.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

CLICK HERE to become a Western United member.

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