Holland itching for win over Jets
Photo Source: AAP
He netted his debut A-League goal for Newcastle, now Adelaide United recruit James Holland is itching to score against them on Sunday.
It's apt for Holland that the Reds get their title defence underway at Hunter Stadium, the venue where it all started for him as an audacious 18-year-old.
The fringe Socceroos midfielder played his very first A-League match for the Jets in 2007, bagging a goal against Wellington to make him the youngest player to score in the competition.
He's since plied his trade in Holland, Austria and Germany before linking up with Guillermo Amor's championship-winning Reds last month.
"For me, there's a lot of memories there," 27-year-old Holland said.
"It's fitting me coming back and playing against them, not with them."
Although there's been some banter with good friends, Jets captain Nigel Boogaard and defender Jason Hoffman, Holland just wants to get started.
"There's a bit of a buzz around the club from last season," he said.
"I'm hoping I can hit the ground running and fill the void after a few of the players left."
The loss of five key players in Craig Goodwin, Pablo Sanchez, Bruce Kamou, Bruce Djite and Stefan Mauk render the Reds something of an unknown quantity to opponents.
But new Jets coach Mark Jones believes he's identified some weaknesses to exploit in his debut match at the helm.
"They're unknown in terms of personnel starting," Jones said.
"But in terms of system and shape, they'll play very similar to the way they did last year."
The Jets' tumultuous off-season got worse this week with goalkeeper Ben Kennedy sustaining an achilles tendon injury during training and being ruled out indefinitely, putting Jack Duncan in line to start between the posts.
Jones said Mateo Poljak and an "underdone" Morten Nordstrand were in doubt to play, while Adelaide's Michael Marrone (achilles) and Marcelo Carrusca (foot) are both ruled out.
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Adelaide have kept Newcastle scoreless in their past five encounters.
* The Jets were the only team last season not to win more games at home than away (4-4).
* The Reds are undefeated in their past 10 away games