Heskey set for Adelaide return

Assistant coach Craig Deans has indicated marquee man Emile Heskey will be fit to play a role against Adelaide United on Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans has indicated marquee man Emile Heskey will be fit to play a role against Adelaide United on Saturday night.

The Jets striker missed the opening three rounds of the season and was a late withdrawal in the F3 Derby against the Central Coast last weekend.

But Deans indicated Heskey-s absence against the Mariners was purely precautionary and he should be right to go when the squad leaves for Adelaide on Friday.

“Fingers crossed nothing happens between now and the weekend, we-ll have a chat with him and see how he feels and how much of the game he thinks he can get through,” Deans said on Tuesday.

“I think all the players are looking forward to having him back, he gives a lot of confidence to everyone and everyone looks up to him.

“His reputation alone is something that puts a bit of fear in the opposition and its gives our boys some confidence, so I think they-ll be keen to have him out there.”

Heskey suffered ligament damage in his knee after a heavy challenge in pre-season against Melbourne Victory and has spent the past seven weeks in rehabilitation. Deans suggested they will discuss with him what role he plays on Saturday.

“If he feels he can start the game and contribute that way then we-ll talk to him about that, but if he feels he-s got 20 or 30 minutes of good effort in him then obviously that will be at the back end of the game,” he said.

“He-s a handful, he-s a smart player, he-s a big fella so he-s always going to cause trouble for people which is what we want from him and he-s very competitive as well which is another positive.”

Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti said the team were excited to have Heskey back this week and hoped he could provide a spark in the front third.

“We-ve got the big man back this week in Emile and hopefully he can cause a real threat to the back four of Adelaide United,” Birighitti said.