Heskey in line for starting berth

Emile Heskey could be in line for a return to the Jets' starting XI against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Friday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans has indicated Jets marquee striker Emile Heskey could be in line for a return to the starting XI against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Friday.

Injuries have restricted Heskey-s impact so far this season, with the former England International limited to just one starting appearance during the 2013/14 campaign.

However, after coming off the bench in the Jets- last two outings, Deans indicated that Heskey may be ready to return to the starting line-up for the Jets- first Friday Night Football fixture at Hunter Stadium this season.

“I think Emile was good when he came on (against Perth last weekend), he got heavily involved in a lot of the good stuff that we did and it-s positive the way he-s pulled up,” Deans said.

“We-ll have a conversation with him and see whether he feels he is up to starting or not and if he can, it-ll be a nice boost.

“With a striker, a lot of it is about getting your rhythm, getting some game time and getting some confidence.

“Unfortunately because he-s had a couple of injuries, he hasn-t been able to do that.

“I think that each week when he plays he-ll gain more and more confidence and more self belief as well.

“When he goes onto the field, he goes out there to win and he puts a lot of expectation on himself to perform and to lead the team.”

Deans said the Jets- good record against Melbourne, which has seen them defeat the Victory more times than any other Club in A-League history, would give Newcastle confidence heading into the match.

“Victory are a pretty mobile and fit young team and we match up quite well against them,” Deans said.

“We go into all games feeling confident, but there are some teams that you feel you match up a little bit better against and at times in the history of the Club we-ve done that with the Victory, so hopefully that continues.

“If you work hard, do your homework and give the right information to the players, you can get some joy out of that.

“We spend a lot of time each week working on what the opposition do and how we can combat that.” With Josh Brillante, Connor Chapman, Andrew Hoole and Adam Taggart away with the Australian U-22 side for the next three weeks, Deans said it was an opportunity for other Jets players to make their mark on the season.

“I think it was something we-d been working towards anyway, to try and freshen a couple of players up,” Deans said.

“I think the players that came in contributed well to the team and it gives them an opportunity now to show us what they-ve got and make it difficult for the other players when they get back.

“On another day, Craig (Goodwin) might have had a couple of goals. I think it will benefit him having played 65 minutes.

“It was difficult for Zenon (Caravella) because he hadn-t played for quite a while, so it probably took him 10 or 15 minutes to get into the game, but I think for the other 40 or so minutes that he was on he contributed quite well.

“He-s an experienced player, so we can put him in there, he understands his job and he brings some confidence and composure to the team as well.”

Meanwhile, former Jets striker Ryan Griffiths has commenced training with the Club.

“Ryan had the opportunity to come in and train and at this stage it-s just purely that,” Deans said.

“It-s good to have him here, he-s comfortable and the players all get on with him.

“He-s another older player with a bit of experience that can help some of the younger guys.”

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Friday, January 10 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm Tickets available from PROticket.