O'Donovan is looking to return in style against the Central Coast Mariners in today's F3 Derby, with the Jets' forward's own injury and suspension-ravaged season one of the key reasons his club are sitting in seventh.

But there's an air of confidence and relaxation in his voice that comes with facing his former Central Coast club and Newcastle's bitter rivals, the Jets' dominance in this fixture over reason seasons has been immense.

Not that O'Donovan isn't 'relishing' a challenge, however.

"I can't wait," O'Donovan said.

"I think we've been playing some good stuff, but it will be a challenge against the Mariners, it won't be easy against a new coach, but it's a challenge we'll be relishing.

"I always get stick off the Mariners fans but I take that as a positive because if I wasn't any good, I wouldn't get any stick off them."

While O'Donovan wasn't planning on rubbing salt in any fresh wounds following the Mariners 8-2 loss to Wellington Phoenix last week, a loss that not only led to the dismissal of Mike Mulvey, but echoed Central Coast's equal worst loss: 8-2 against Newcastle Jets last year.

But he wasn't going to just skip over it entirely, now was he?

"A new manager will want them to be the best they can in the derby and not let what happened last week against the Wellington Phoenix ever happen again," he coolly jibed.

"Every blade of grass will be difficult for us, but we have to go out there and entertain the fans.

"It's been a busy schedule for us but a week to recharge the batteries and a home derby is the perfect week. 

"You want all your foreign marquees, all the players who play with personality. When Ronny (Vargas) returns tomorrow, even if it's just for 20 - 30 minutes, we're looking forward to having him back out there."