Gary van Egmond is hopeful the possible return of Emile Heskey for Saturday’s F3 Derby can end the Jets’ goal-scoring drought.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond is hopeful the possible return of former England international Emile Heskey for Saturday-s F3 Derby against the Central Coast Mariners at Hunter Stadium can help bring an end to the Jets- goal-scoring drought.
The Jets fashioned a number of chances during their scoreless draw with Wellington Phoenix in Napier on Sunday, but were unable to find the back of the net for the third straight week.
Heskey was the Jets- joint top scorer last season with nine goals, but has missed the opening three rounds of the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League season with a knee injury and is touch and go for Saturday's F3 Derby.
Van Egmond said the possible return of the former English Premier League star this weekend would provide the Jets with a significant boost in the attacking third of the pitch against the defending Champions.
“Three games without a goal, it doesn-t matter who you are, it-s going to start to affect you,” van Egmond said.
“We-ll obviously gain a lot when Emile returns, which will hopefully be next week against the Mariners and hopefully he can help us find a way to score.
“We get ourselves into good positions, we just have to be more ruthless with the action of the final ball, with the run that we make and the final shot we take to really believe we-re going to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Van Egmond said he had been satisfied with the Jets- overall performance in their 0-0 draw with Wellington in Napier on Sunday, aside from the composure shown in front of goal.
“Usually you come to New Zealand and you-re pretty happy with a point,” van Egmond said.
“They-re a difficult team to play against and I thought last week against the Wanderers, they were particularly good.
“We knew we were in for a difficult match and we hadn-t been playing well ourselves.
“We came here with a point to prove and I think with a bit better finishing we could have bagged a few goals today.
“In general play, if felt like we controlled the football match for the mainstay of it.”
Despite sitting at the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder after three rounds, the Jets have conceded the equal-fewest number of goals of any team in the competition.
Van Egmond said keeping a second consecutive clean sheet against a potent Wellington attack was a positive sign.
“Wellington are always dangerous going forward with (Carlos) Hernandez, (Jeremy) Brockie, (Paul) Ifill, (Stein) Husyegems and (Kenny) Cunnigham,” van Egmond said.
“We were aware of that and we had to make sure that when we played high up in their half we had our rest defence pretty well spot on.
“To Ernie-s credit he changed it a bit when he went to two up front and played a bit more of a diamond midfield, but we reorganised and coped with it once we got our positioning right.
“Defensively I felt it was another good display from our boys.”
Meanwhile, the kick-off time for Saturday-s F3 Derby blockbuster against the Central Coast Mariners at Hunter Stadium has been pushed back 15 minutes to 7.45pm.
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners Saturday, November 2 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.45pm Tickets available from PROticket