18-man squad named for Sydney FC clash

Gary van Egmond has named an 18-man squad for Saturday’s blockbuster clash against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond has named an 18-man squad for Saturday-s blockbuster clash against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.

Jacob Pepper and Taylor Regan come into the squad to replace Adam Taggart and Connor Chapman who are away on Young Socceroos duty in Portugal.

Goalkeeper Jack Duncan has also been added to the squad as a replacement for Mark Birighitti who will serve a one-week suspension following his red card against Adelaide United in round one.

Van Egmond said he is yet to finalise his starting line-up for Saturday-s game.

“We have just been through some shape at training this morning and we probably haven-t really settled on an 11. There are one or two different spots we-re still looking at,” he said.

“In regards to our formation, we will probably tinker with that a little bit and there could be one or two different players, but maybe they will be bench spots rather than the starting XI.”

The absence of Birighitti means Ben Kennedy will get the opportunity to start in goals and van Egmond said he is confident that Kennedy can do the job.

“The unfortunate thing for BK during the pre season is that he has had this nagging knee injury and he hasn-t been able to have sustainably of a training environment,” van Egmond explained.

“He is obviously going to play this weekend but he has had a lot more stability coming through the last few weeks coming from the training environment where he has been able to train consistently.”

Despite picking up a knock to his ankle in the Jets' 2-0 loss to the Reds, Dominik Ritter has been named in the squad after completing a full training session at Ray Watt Oval on Thursday.

Ryan Griffiths has also recovered fully from a rolled ankle and van Egmond said both Griffiths and Ritter will play on the weekend.

“Unless they get another injury they will be fine, they will play this weekend,” he said.

Saturday-s fixture against the Sky Blues will see Jets marquee Emile Heskey go head-to-head with his Sydney FC counterpart Alessandro Del Piero for the first time and a crowd of more than 30,000 is expected for the clash.

Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Tiago CALVANO, 4. Josh MITCHELL, 5. Dominik RITTER, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Emile HESKEY, 10. Bernardo RIBEIRO, 14. Taylor REGAN, 15. Craig GOODWIN, 16. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (c), 17. James VIRGILI, 18. Jacob PEPPER, 19. Michael BRIDGES, 21. Marko JESIC, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 30. Jack DUNCAN (gk).

In: Taylor Regan, Jacob Pepper, Jack Duncan Out: Mark Birighitti (red card suspension), Connor Chapman (Young Socceroos), Adam Taggart (Young Socceroos) Unavailable: James Brown (ankle)