Newcastle Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane today confirmed the Jets will make a handful of changes to their line-up for Saturday’s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium.
Speaking after training at Ray Watt Oval on a hot and humid day in Newcastle, Zane confirmed that goalkeeper Ben Kennedy will start the match, while Jets youth team defender Nick Cowburn has been promoted to the bench.
“Ben Kennedy will get a start and play between the sticks this week,” Zane said.
“BK has been very patient, but at the same time Mark Birighitti shouldn’t put his head down too much because we know what an asset he is to the Club.
“It’s a tough call and we’ve said it before that we’re in a position where we have two first team keepers.”
Zane said the promotion of Cowburn to the squad showed that the pathway from the Jets' youth set-up to the senior team was starting to reap rewards for the Club.
“I think it’s a little bit of a statement from the coach that anyone, if they’re playing well enough is capable of making that squad,” Zane said.
“It’s a good signal to our youth team and having the Emerging Jets and our youth structure that’s been working quite well underneath our first team for some time, it’s a good statement to have right now.
“We’ve had some injury issues with fullbacks along the way and Cowburn has been doing quite well there with the youth team.
“He’s a bit of a utility and the fact that he can play more than one position has probably helped him break into the squad this week.”
Zane also indicated that Adrian Madaschi is likely to feature in the starting XI, while striker Joel Griffiths will be given up until the last minute to prove his fitness after suffering from an infected toe.
“I think you could see from training today that there’s likely to be some changes,” Zane said.
“Madaschi is in our thoughts to play alongside Kew Jaliens as a centre-back.
“Joel Griffiths hasn’t trained for most of the week with a foot injury (infected toe) so we’re going to give him every chance to be available and we’ll find that out in the morning.”