With several players off contract, Newcastle Jets’ new coach Phil Stubbins says he’s going to begin rebuilding the A-League side immediately.
Newcastle coach Phil Stubbins’ first order of business at the A-League club will be player recruitment, with the mentor eager to finalise his roster ahead of the pre-season.
Stubbins was unveiled on Monday as the club’s new head coach until the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Tasked with ensuring the Jets don’t miss the finals for a fifth straight year, he says he won’t be wasting any time rebuilding the side.
The likes of marquee star Emile Heskey, David Carney, Joel Griffiths, Josh Mitchell, Joey Gibbs, Nick Ward and James Brown are all off contract.
Stubbins, who joined the Jets from Thai club Bangkok Glass FC, says he will decide their fate immediately with an eye to having his full squad finalised by the time the pre-season kicks off in mid-June.
“We’ll enter discussions about whether we’re going to keep all of them,” he said on Tuesday.
“I won’t divulge who and when and how we’re going to do that but there will be discussions straight away with those players.”
Heskey is back home in England and unlikely to return with speculation the club isn’t interested in having a marquee signing for next season.
Chief executive Robbie Middleby said it hadn’t been ruled out.
“That hasn’t been decided yet,” he said on Tuesday.
“We’ll have some discussions with Phil over the next couple of months and we’ll look at recruitment across all areas including the marquee.”
The likes of A-League golden boot Adam Taggart, midfielder Josh Brillante and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti have all attracted attention from Europe.
But while hoping to keep hold of the talented young trio, Stubbins acknowledges he might have to find replacements.
Middleby said key to Stubbins’ appointment was his knack for identifying talent.
During his time as Adelaide United assistant coach four years ago, Stubbins was credited for bringing the likes of Socceroo striker Mathew Leckie, gloveman Eugene Galekovic and Argentine playmaker Marcos Flores to the club.
With a relatively young squad at the Jets, Stubbins said it was crucial to get the balance of youth and experience right.
But most important, he wants to strengthen the mindset of the players at the underachieving club.
“I don’t want to sugar coat it – we need to improve in a few areas,” he said.
“Not so much in a technical aspect but between the ears and get ourselves stronger mentally.
“You look at Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney, Melbourne Victory or the Central Coast, they’ve all got strong cultures in place.
“So we’ve got some work to do to have a really strong mindset and a clear identity.”