A-League: Argentine attacker set to take off for Newcastle Jets in F3 derbyphotos, video

Hot Rod ready to take off in Jets derby debut GOOD VIEWING: Argentine attacker Pato Rodriguez fires a shot at goal in front of Jets teammates at training on Monday. Picture: Sproule Sports Focus
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TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald on Monday.“I feel good. I have spoken to the coach.He told me what he wants me to do, my instructions. I don’t think I will start, but I am ready to go when he needs me. I am at his disposal.”

Rodriguez said he was overjetlag and “sleeping well” but was still adjusting to the heat wave which has melted the Hunter.

“I have been well received and am comfortable.” he said. “I cut my hair, it was too hot, but I am good.”

Rodriguez hasn’t played a game in over a month after leaving AEK Athens, where he was a teammate of injured Jet Ronny Vargas, in early December.

“I am conscious it takes a while to settle in and adjust but I will give my best,” he said.

His spot may be under pressure, but Joe Champness has welcomed the arrival of Pato Rodriguez at @NewcastleJetsFC and hopes to learn from him as well as push the Argentinian for a starting spot. @ALeaguepic.twitter苏州美甲/DH5ZUOnKmf

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) January 8, 2018

Exciting rookie Joe Champness will start on the left wing against the Mariners.

The 20-year-old, fresh from being named A-League Young Player of the Month for December, has been a revelation since pitched into the starting side after long-term injuries to Vargas and Roy O’Donovan forced a reshuffle to the front four.

Rather than threatened by the arrival of Rodriguez, he has welcomed the addition.

“Competition in the squad is great,” he said. “it is about what is best for the team. It improves everyone as players when everyone is fighting for spots. It is fantastic that we have a really great addition to the team.Having those type of experienced, quality players around me is great. That is something I am always looking to do –learn.What better thanto learn from players like that.”

Champness grabbed headlines with a goal on debut in a 5-1 mauling of the Mariners in the season opener in Gosford.

“It was a really great feelingscoring on debut, a dream come true,” he said.

The former Roar youth player, who boasts the lethal combination of speed and skill, hasn’t looked back.

He reacted quickestto pounce on a Dimi Petratos cornerand crunch a volley to give the Jets the lead for a second time in a gripping 2-all draw with Sydney FC last round.

“You just always want to do your best,” he said. “It definitely make sit easier with the players around you,it is a great quality squad.We are just going out there with a positive mindset and performing the best we can.”

Captain Nigel Boogaard (concussion) and Ivan Vujica (suspension) return against the Mariners but Ben Kantarovski is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury and had an MRI on the tendon on Monday.

​The Mariners, who sit in eighthspot, are without creative spark Danny De Silva (n under-23s).

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