Melbourne Heart FC’s Matt Thompson is eagerly awaiting his return to the Hunter Valley as the Club takes on the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium tomorrow night.
Melbourne Heart FC-s Matt Thompson is eagerly awaiting his return to the Hunter Valley as the Club takes on the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium tomorrow night.
Thompson spent five seasons with Newcastle, playing a major role in the side which claimed the Hyundai A-League 2008 Championship before earning the Captain-s armband last year, leading the Club deep into the Finals Series.
However, as Heart-s inaugural Vice-Captain, Thompson-s allegiances are now firmly based south of the border with Melbourne-s newest Hyundai A-League Club.
Making 121 appearances at Newcastle, the Hyundai A-League all-time games record, Thompson though retains fond memories of his time with the Jets.
“Newcastle was great towards me and I left on great terms so I am looking forward to going back there. If anything I still might feel a little bit more comfortable running on to EnergyAustralia Stadium than at AAMI Park,” he joked.
Having recruited strongly over the off-season, Thompson believes Newcastle is likely to pose a challenge, saying Heart needs to assert control of the midfield during the contest-s early stages.
“You want to catch them on a bad day. I like to think if we get on top early, we can get away with a win,” he said.
“The boys are quietly confident. We were a bit disappointed with the score [against the Mariners] but everyone was a bit upbeat to get that first [game] out of the way.
“It would have been nice to get something out of it. We put [the loss] behind us straight away. There’s no reason we can’t do a number on Newcastle.”
Thompson said he is confident the squad will continue to improve over the coming weeks, as the players become more familiar with Head Coach John van ‘t Schip-s tactical philosophy.
“It was disappointing to lose last week. To have a result like that wasn’t ideal but apart from the result there wasn’t much wrong with the weekend I think,”’ Thompson said.
”The performance was not too bad, in patches we have a few things to work on but that’s to be expected. This week we want to correct the things we did wrong.
“We were just probably an inch off a few things, a few second balls that just weren’t there or just behind us. But that’s going to come the more times we play, so we can take plenty out of it. I can’t wait for this week.’”