Childbirth can do wonders for footballers. Just ask Sydney FC defender Jop van der Linden, who has been walking on air since his baby boy Tijn arrived safe and healthy on Thursday morning. Coach Steve Corica is hopeful the good news translates into a great individual performance against Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.
New fathers tend to perform out of their skin in these circumstances. Corica was a witness to it during his days with Wolverhampton Wanderers in England.
All smiles: Sydney FC defender and new dad Jop van der Linden.Credit:AAP
"I've seen that happen before," Corica told Fairfax Media. "We were in Norwich, four hours away from Wolves. Steve Bull, the striker there, went back to have the baby, came back the next morning and scored a hat-trick that day."
Van der Linden has been a solid enough performer in Sydney's unbeaten start to the new season, but the extra spring in his step might see him nudge Milos Ninkovic out of the way to take a free kick, or add another foot to his vertical leap when he looks to head home a corner against the Jets.
"He's very excited. It's a great feeling, especially being his first child as well. We expect a big game from him," Corica said.
The good vibes extend to the rest of the Sky Blues team. Rested and refreshed after ending a hectic week with a 3-0 rout of Melbourne City last Friday night, Corica's men are ready to extend Newcastle's early-season misery. The beaten grand finalists are yet to register a win and have scored just twice in the opening three rounds.
Jop van der Linden in action during Sydney’s 2-0 derby win last weekend – the first in a run of three games in six days for the Sky Blues.Credit:AAP
"I wouldn't say they're lacking firepower, but the ball's not going into the back of the net for them at the moment and that's our job, to carry on like that," Corica said. "We expect the same performance as last Friday night to limit their chances and to stop them from scoring."
Corica is set to stick with the same starting team that he rolled out three times last week for a return of two A-League wins and one FFA Cup final defeat. Paulo Retre's impressive form is likely to keep loan recruit Daniel De Silva on the bench for the second successive match.
"Of course Danny is a big part of our team and I want him back [starting] as soon as possible but … [Retre] has had three good starts," Corica said. "He has been that player who has filled in at different positions – he's played left-back, right-back, No.6, and now he's playing as a 10.
"He's getting better as well – the more games he plays and starts, the more positive he gets and he's doing a great job for the team which is most important."
Source: Read Full Article