Heskey on track to return for do-or-die clash

The Jets are likely to be boosted by the return of Emile Heskey for their final round showdown with Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets are likely to be boosted by the return of former England international Emile Heskey for their final round showdown with Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Friday week.

Heskey has missed the last two matches with a calf strain, but Jets head coach Gary van Egmond is confident he will be fully fit in time for the match against the Wanderers.

“We-ll probably get Emile back, so that will result in a bit of a reshuffle in the front third,” van Egmond said.

“I think he-ll be fine. I spoke to the physio this morning and he told me if we wanted to push him, he probably would have been able to play this weekend.

“Hopefully everything goes well with his rehab and he has a good week of training before the Western Sydney game.

“He got put through a fairly rigorous session yesterday and again today, so it-s good to see that he-s come through that alright.”

Van Egmond said having Heskey back would add another dimension to the Jets- attack.

“When the ball goes into Emile, other players can start making good runs in behind because he holds the ball up so well,” van Egmond said.

“Obviously his presence in and around the box and holding the ball up is his real forte.

“The last time they all played together was against Wellington and especially in that first half I thought they were particularly good.”

The Jets- season will be on the line when they take on the table-topping Wanderers, with the home side likely to require all three points to keep their finals aspirations alive.

Van Egmond said he is anticipating a finals-like atmosphere for the clash.

“For us it-s a huge game. The most important part is for us to get into those finals and the game against Wanderers is going to be a similar to a Grand Final approach,” van Egmond said.

“We-ll ramp things up. We-ve got a few things we want to do just prior to the game.

“It will really have a good atmosphere and they-re the type of games you really love to play in, those big games and obviously finals football.

“It doesn-t come around all then time. The last time we were in finals football was some time ago. You never know when it-s going to occur and you-ve got to try and take that opportunity when it arises.”

The equation facing the Jets will become clearer once Round 26 of A-League action is completed this weekend.

“Obviously this weekend, it-s a case where we-re sitting out and we-ll watch the games and pray for the right results,” van Egmond said.

“It-s frustrating, but we-ve put ourselves in this position. We just have to sit back and hopefully it goes accordingly and if it does, I think a win in the last game will be enough for us to get through.”

Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers Friday, March 29 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 5.30pm Tickets from PROticket