The Newcastle Jets have named a 16-man squad for Friday night’s clash with Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets have named a 16-man squad for Friday night-s clash with Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
The Jets have a number of players unavailable for the fixture, with Josh Brillante, Connor Chapman, Andrew Hoole and Adam Taggart all away on international duty with Australia at the AFC U-22 Championships in Oman.
Central defender Kew Jaliens will also miss the clash through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Newcastle head coach Gary van Egmond said he was confident other members of the Jets squad could step-up in the absence of their teammates.
“We-ve obviously got a few boys away with national team duty and it-s a good chance for some of these boys to stamp their authority on the team and take it forward with this spell,” van Egmond said.
In a big boost for the Jets, van Egmond confirmed that marquee striker Emile Heskey is ready to start his first match for the Jets since November 30th.
“Emile is fine. We-ve been nurturing him along after a couple of setbacks with his knees, but he-s fine and raring to go,” van Egmond said.
“He-s ready to go from the start. We-ve been ultra careful with him and he knows his body better than anyone and it-s a case that he-s ready to go and really looking forward to the game.”
Van Egmond also indicated that Craig Goodwin would once again start for the Jets after impressing last week.
“Craig will start again. I thought he had a good hit out for the first game he-s started in quite sometime,” van Egmond explained
“When everyone-s fit and healthy, there-s good competition in that front third and Craig has the opportunity now to try and cement that position.”
Van Egmond said it was crucial that the Jets capitalise on any opportunities they happen to create against the Victory.
“We have to be better in that front third to make better decisions, more quality passes and better positioning to open up defences,” van Egmond said.
“It-s something that for me, we need to keep working at.
“Being at home there-s a bit more of an onus on us to be a bit more adventurous as far as that is concerned and last but not least, you have to take your chances.”
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6. Zenon CARAVELLA, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH (c), 9. Emile HESKEY, 10. Nathan BURNS, 11. Craig GOODWIN, 13. Joey GIBBS, 14. Josh MITCHELL, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 17, James VIRGILI, 18. James BROWN, 19. Michael BRIDGES, 21. Sam GALLAWAY, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk).
Ins: 13. Joey GIBBS (promoted), 14. Josh MITCHELL (promoted) 17. James VIRGILI (promoted), 19. Michael Bridges (promoted).
Outs: 4. Kew JALIENS (suspension), 7. Andrew HOOLE (international duty), 12. Connor CHAPMAN (international duty), 15. Josh BRILLANTE (international duty) 22. Adam TAGGART (international duty),
Unavailable: 2. Scott NEVILLE (knee injury - long term), 25. Mitch COOPER (knee injury - long term).
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Friday, January 10 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm Tickets available from PROticket.