Rising striker Joey Gibbs insists he will have no qualms if he is relegated to the bench despite a dazzling debut for victorious Western Sydney Wanderers at the weekend.
The 20-year-old former Sydney FC junior took full advantage of a hip injury to first choice Dino Kresinger to conjure a display brimming with intent and energy as the Wanderers scored their first goal and first win of the season to upset champion Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
His pace, awareness and mobility gave the Wanderers a threat and attacking fluency they had not shown in three A-League games in which they had garnered just a point.
But with Kresinger expected to be fit to face Melbourne Heart on Friday night, Gibbs – who won his Wanderers contract the hard way after a series of trial games for the start-up club – is not necessarily anticipating holding on to his hard-won spot.
“I thought I didn’t go too badly,” said Gibbs with some understatement.
“Dino is a very good player as well and has been unlucky in the past few games.
“Against Heart, Poppa (Tony Popovic) will pick the team he wants for a particular occasion and whatever happens I will have the same state of mind.
“I will stay positive, hungry and motivated. I am happy for every chance I get.”
Whatever happens, Gibbs’s confidence is surging after Mark Bridge’s goal proved decisive against listless Brisbane.
“I always had the belief I could play in the A-League and the process I went through to join Wanderers has been good for me,” he explained.
“It’s been a long journey already and I now feel I am ready. I have learned quite a lot over the past few years. I have always had the motivation to succeed.”
Gibbs, who was ultimately cut by Sydney and had to rekindle his A-League ambitions during a stint at NSW Premier League Marconi, said: “I feel the switch from a midfield role to becoming a striker during my time at Marconi has really helped my development and made me a different player.”
He is convinced that the Wanderers now have the template for success.
“We played well as a team and we deserved what we got against Brisbane,” he said.
“We were solid and followed the game plan set up by Poppa. The key for us is to take things slowly and not get carried away by anything.
“We’ll now focus on trying to pinpoint the weaknesses of Melbourne Heart and try and exploit them.
“Poppa has been all about the business from day one and we have all worked hard and hopefully now the results will keep coming.”
Still based at the family home in Gosford – in the heart of Central Coast Mariners territory – Gibbs, who makes the F3 commute with teammate Reece Caira each day, is looking to move to Sydney soon.
“I carpool with Reece but neither of us likes the journey too much. I think it's time to get a place in Sydney now.”
While Gibbs has watched the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium, he has always played his football in Sydney.
“I am a Central Coast boy for sure but I am just happy where I am at the moment with Wanderers.”
The Wanderers have conceded twice in four games and solidity at the back is going to be a key for the club this season, according to Gibbs.
“With Michael Beauchamp and Nikolai Topor-Stanley we have two proven A-League defenders and two great leaders. Megsy, in particular, has been a big help to me,” he said.