Local product Ben Kennedy will skipper his hometown club against Sydney FC on Friday night.
As part of Head Coach Phil Stubbins’ captaincy rotation policy to conclude Hyundai A-League season ten, the armband is being shared in two match intervals between Kennedy, Taylor Regan, Jacob Pepper and Daniel Mullen.
Kennedy is the third of the quartet to be given the honour of leading the Novocastrians on the plush Hunter Stadium surface since round 16, and Stubbins is sure the steady shot-stopper possesses the qualities necessary to skipper the side.
“He’s [Kennedy] another guy who is in the leadership group and we’re all right behind Ben,” Stubbins told local media on Thursday.
“He’s a guy that’s Newcastle through and through and he had a fantastic game last time we played Sydney FC. Hopefully he can replicate that again and keep a clean sheet.”
“Ben’s the guy that will be the captain tomorrow,” he said.
Stubbins has named an 18 player squad for Friday’s fixture against the Sky Blues, with Ben Kantarovski and Andrew Hoole likely to come straight back into the starting side following respective one-week absences due to suspension.
Hoole has spent some of this week training at striker rather than in his usual wide attacking role, and Stubbins admitted that he is considering deploying the Australian youth international in the number nine role.
“Obviously Andrew Hoole is someone we’ve dabbled on bringing inside,” he said. “He’s got some very good traits as a football player and able to turn on a six pence so to speak.”
“It’s [playing Hoole as striker] something we’ve tried, but whether we go with it or not we’re going to have to wait until tomorrow night.”
Youngsters Brandon Lundy and John Solari have also been included in this week’s squad.
Graham Arnold’s Sydney side have been in hot goalscoring form of late, and according to Stubbins the team from the New South Wales are one of the favourites to take out the Hyundai A-League Championship.
“We’ve all got something to prove against Sydney,” he said. “They’re [Sydney FC] a very good side at the moment and probably close to title favourites.”
“The goals that they’ve scored in the last few games would suggest that they’re right up there as one of the favourites for the comp, and ‘Arnie’ [Graham Arnold] has got a bag of riches there, certainly in the front third, that they can choose from.”
“Our boys are focused on the job at hand and we’re looking for the challenge of Sydney FC. They’re a good side. Graham and his staff need to be congratulated on their efforts but we’re going to be going out there ready for the contest,” Stubbins concluded.
Newcastle Jets Squad vs. Sydney FC: 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTANO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk) (C), 21. Daniel MULLEN, 22. Ki-je LEE, 25. Brandon LUNDY, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 30. John SOLARI (Gk) *two to be omitted*
Ins: 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (returns from suspension), 11. Andrew HOOLE (returns from suspension), 25. Brandon LUNDY (promoted), 30. John SOLARI (Gk) (promoted)
Outs: 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee – indefinite), 26. Nick COWBURN (knee – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee – indefinite), 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle – 6 weeks), 26. Nick COWBURN (knee – 2 weeks)
Our Members and fans can also win one of five autographed Jets jerseys in the lead up to this week’s game against Sydney FC simply by following the prompts at www.jointhejets.org. (Fans without tickets for the game can also take advantage of special pricing at the site).
Date: Friday 6 March
Match: Newcastle Jets vs. Sydney FC – Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 20
Venue: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Television: Live on FOX SPORTS 505 & SBS ONE
Radio: Live on ABC Grandstand & 1233 ABC Newcastle
Twitter: Join the match conversation using #NEWvSYD #NTUA