Jets name 18-man squad to face Heart

The Newcastle Jets have named an 18-man squad for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium.

The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets have named an 18-man squad for Saturday-s clash with Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium.

Jets interim head coach Clayton Zane said he expected to make very few changes to the line-up that defeated second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium last Sunday.

“We-ve had a look at a couple of things to deal with the threat that Melbourne Heart pose going forward,” Zane said.

“I-m pretty happy with how the starting XI went on the weekend, but we have to make sure we balance the bench quite well, so we can have some impact and people there who can close the game out.”

Ben Kantarovski has been named in the squad after making his comeback from a knee injury in the National Youth League last weekend, while Socceroo David Carney is also available for selection after overcoming a knock he picked against Sydney FC in Round 20.

“Obviously Carney and Kantarovski come back into the mix this week, but in saying that, I was quite happy with the impact and performance of the bench players who came on last week,” Zane explained.

“It-s more about making sure that our balance is right. We-re going to be concentrating more on our game plan rather than worrying too much about what Heart is doing.”

Zane said he would stick with the centre-back pairing of Josh Mitchell and Kew Jaliens, who kept the Jets- second clean sheet in their past three matches against Western Sydney.

“I think Josh has been excellent since he came in and he-s made it hard for me to put anyone other than him in as a left-sided stopper,” Zane said.

“I think it also gives Kew Jaliens the opportunity to move to the right side where he-s a lot more comfortable.

“In terms of that pairing, I can confidently say that will be the pair for the weekend.”

Meanwhile, the Jets have partnered with Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation (HBCF) to support goalkeeper Ben Kennedey arrange a week of fundraising and promotional activities, culminating in a ‘Pink Day for BK- when the Newcastle Jets take on Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, March 8.

The Newcastle Jets have produced a specially designed pink t-shirt to raise funds for HBCF, which will be on-sale at Saturday-s clash with Melbourne Heart for $25. For every pink t-shirt purchased, $5 will be donated to the HBCF.

Both the Jets and Melbourne Heart players will wear the pink t-shirts as they make their way onto the field prior to kick-off in the match, while the Jets players will also wear pink laces during the fixture.

HBCF will be the official match day partner and all Jets Members and supporters are encouraged to dress in pink and support Ben and HBCF. Volunteers will be collecting donations for HBCF within the stadium precinct on match day.

Jets Members and supporters unable to get to the game can make donations online by CLICKING HERE.

Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 4. Kew JALIENS, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6. Zenon CARAVELLA, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH (c), 9. Emile HESKEY, 11. Craig GOODWIN, 13. Joey GIBBS, 14. Josh MITCHELL, 15. Josh BRILLANTE, 17. James VIRGILI, 21. Sam GALLAWAY, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 22. Adam TAGGART, 23. David CARNEY, 24. Mitch OXBORROW, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS.

Ins: 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (promoted), 23. David CARNEY (returns from injury).

Outs: Nil.

Unavailable: 2. Scott NEVILLE (knee injury - long term) 25. Mitch COOPER (knee injury - long term), 27. Nick WARD (knee injury - one week).

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart Saturday, March 8 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 5.30pm Tickets available from PROticket.