Heskey to make Jets debut

Emile Heskey will make his debut for the Jets in their Round 1 match against Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets marquee signing Emile Heskey will make his debut for the Jets in their Round 1 match against Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Jets head coach Gary van Egmond today named a 19-man squad for the clash and revealed Heskey will feature in the fixture.

“I can tell you now, Emile will be involved on the weekend for sure,” van Egmond said.

“He got through the Tuesday and Wednesday training sessions with no problems. In fact on Wednesday, it was a conditioning session and he got through that quite well.

“He-s reasonably quite fit, but not 100 per cent match fit, but the other part of it is that he-s a competitor and a winner.

“You can see in the training sessions, within his own pride, he won-t allow things to beat him.”

The squad also hosts new faces Scott Neville, Josh Mitchell, Dominik Ritter, Bernardo Ribeiro, Craig Goodwin, Mark Birighitti, Adam Taggart and Mitch Cooper.

Van Egmond said he is close to finalising which players will start the match against the Reds.

“We-re pretty close top deciding on a starting XI. We-re just tinkering with maybe one or two positions, but on Friday and Saturday, we-ll definitely nut that out,” he said.

“We-ve got the next couple of days to finalise the squad. That will also depend on the type of game we-ll look to play in regards to the players that we finally choose to play on the weekend.”

With Mark Birighitti and Ben Kennedy pushing each other hard in training for the number one spot, Van Egmond gave little away when asked who would be his first choice goalkeeper come Sunday afternoon.

“At the moment we-re in a position where both goalkeepers are doing really, really well,” he said.

“They-re pushing each other very hard and there is going to be good competition throughout the whole of the season.”

Adelaide played against Uzbekistan club Bunyodkor in an AFC Asian Champions League quarter final in Tashkent on Wednesday night.

Despite the likelihood that the Reds may be slightly weary from their return trip to Australia, van Egmond said the Jets would still have to be at their best to beat Adelaide.

“They-re a good team and obviously their form in the ACL has been good. They-ve recruited well and they have a very strong squad so we-ll have to be on our game,” he said.

“The fact that they-ve been in Uzbekistan as late as last night, they won-t get back here until Friday or Saturday, the fact that the game went into extra-time and with it being our first home game means we really need to get at them.

“We-ll look to take the initiative and really try to press against their team and see how the game pans out from there and look to see tactically what we need to do.

“We know whatever team Kossie (John Kosmina) puts out will be formidable opposition, so we-re prepared for a very, very hard game.”

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 11. Connor CHAPMAN 15. Craig GOODWIN 16. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (c) 17. James VIRGILI 19. Michael BRIDGES 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) 21. Marko JESIC 22. Adam TAGGART, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS 25. Mitch COOPER *four to be omitted*

Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Osama MALIK, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 6.CASSIO, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Bruce DJITE, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 12.Antony GOLEC, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Daniel BOWLES, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Jake BARKER-DAISH, 21.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 22.Iain FYFE, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS, 30.Paul IZZO (gk) *three to be omitted*

Van Egmond will finalise his starting XI prior to kick off at Hunter Stadium.

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United Hunter Stadium Sunday, October 7 Kick-off at 3pm Tickets available through PROticket

It's not too late to become a Jets Member. New Members joining from now until midnight Thursday, October 4 will receive an E-Ticket from PROticket for this Sunday's match. More details can be found HERE.