Newcastle boss Ernie Merrick expects ex-Matildas coach Alen Stajcic to impress in his caretaker stint at A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners.
Stajcic was unveiled by the Mariners on Tuesday, ending his two-month exile from football after his controversial dismissal from the Matildas by Football Federation Australia.
The 45-year-old replaces Mike Mulvey, who was sacked by the Mariners following an 8-2 hiding in Gosford by Wellington Phoenix last Saturday.
That result leaves the Mariners rooted on the bottom of the ladder with just one win from 21 matches heading into this weekend's F3 derby against the finals-hunting Jets.
Merrick believes the Mariners will respond from their humiliating defeat last week regardless of who is in charge but is also confident Stajcic will provide focus to Central Coast's players.
"I'm always in favour of coaches so I hate to see a coach getting sacked midway through his contract. I don't think Mike Mulvey was very well dealt with," Merrick said.
"One coach, unfortunately is badly dealt with, (but) there's an opportunity for Alen to come into the A-League and I think it's good to see him.
"A new coach coming into any team obviously gives the players a bit of a lift because they think they're in with a chance now of being in the starting eleven. He'll structure them. How coachable they are depends on the structure."
Merrick attended an appeal hearing in Sydney on Tuesday against his $3,000 fine for comments made about the VAR referees following the Jets' 2-0 loss to Perth in January.
An independent disciplinary and ethics committee has reserved its decision into the appeal, leaving Merrick to focus on the Jets' quest for a finals position with four points between them and sixth-placed Melbourne City.
"We've just got to back ourselves to play well in these next few games otherwise we're not going to get in the finals," Merrick said.
"The next two games are pretty well crucial for us both against the Mariners and the Wellington Phoenix."