Heskey named in 18-man squad for F3 Derby

Emile Heskey has been included in the Jets' 18-man squad to face the Central Coast Mariners at Hunter Stadium on Saturday

The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets have named an 18-man squad, including marquee striker Emile Heskey, for Saturday-s F3 Derby clash with the Central Coast Mariners at Hunter Stadium.

Jets head coach Gary van Egmond indicated that Heskey is most likely to feature as a substitute against the Mariners.

“We have to wait and see how he-s feeling,” van Egmond said.

“I had a chat with him this morning and he just wanted to get through training today and tomorrow and then we-ll make a call.

“He-s going to have to work his way in from the perspective of games and the last thing we want to do is break him.

“We have to be careful, because it is a long season and it is imperative that we make sure we manage his game time as well.

“Coming in at the back end of games, especially initially, will help him because the pace of the game won-t be so high.”

Van Egmond said the inclusion of Heskey would add a point of difference to the Jets- front third.

“It will give us a completely new dynamic in the way that we look at our team,” van Egmond said.

“I think we-ll more than likely need to get someone close to Emile and someone like Nathan Burns is a great foil for him.

Van Egmond said that aside from Heskey-s inclusion in the squad, he did not foresee himself making many other changes for the clash with the reigning Champions.

“I thought last week we did some really good things and those boys deserve to play, so the squad that we had in Wellington will be pretty much the same as what we go with this weekend,” van Egmond said.

“I think both Ben Kantarovski and Josh Brillante came in there did a good job in midfield and I think last week there were some really positive signs.

“We haven-t changed the back four at all and I think that-s been a big reason why we-ve been able to keep those clean sheets.”

“The Mariners are pretty settled in what they do. They keep the centre of the park pretty solid and have a condensed and compact defensive unit,” van Egmond said.

“We have to look at how we can disturb that and ensure our rest defence is right, so we don-t lose the ball in areas where we can get hurt on the counter.

“The players are very confident and very comfortable in knowing what we need to do from a playing out perspective and what we do with the ball.

“We-ve gone through some things at training where we think we can hurt them and hopefully that can come to fruition on the weekend.”

Volunteers from the local Rural Fire Service will be collecting donations outside Hunter Stadium prior to Saturday's F3 Derby. Money raised will be used to support local brigades and ensure they are well equipped for the summer.

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 Squad: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 4. Kew JALIENS, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6. Zenon CARAVELLA, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Emile HESKEY, 10. Nathan BURNS, 12. Connor CHAPMAN, 15. Josh BRILLANTE, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. James BROWN, 19. Michael BRIDGES, 20. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 21. Sam GALLAWAY, 22. Adam TAGGART (two to be omitted).

Ins: Emile HESKEY (returns from injury)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Mitch COOPER (knee - four weeks).

Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners Saturday, November 2 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.45pm Tickets available from PROticket