The Newcastle Jets have named a 20-man squad for their Round 21 clash with Melbourne Heart on Friday night.
The Newcastle Jets have named a 20-man squad for their Round 21 clash with Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
Coach Gary van Egmond confirmed Michael Bridges, Adam Taggart, Dominik Ritter and Taylor Regan will all start the game.
Bridges will play in the forward line alongside former England international Emile Heskey for the first time since the ex-Liverpool striker joined the Jets.
“I-m going to start Bridgey and he and Emile will start together,” van Egmond said.
“I think it-s good because there are a number of people who would love to see it and Bridgey deserves it.
“He deserves his opportunity to be there because maybe other players haven-t done as well as we might have liked.
“He gives you that experience and he can put his foot on the ball when necessary.
“I know he-s really looking forward to it and for the public, which would love to see two ex-Premier League players playing together, I just hope a big crowd gets out there and really supports them.”
Another addition to a re-vamped Jets forward line will be Young Socceroo Adam Taggart, who impressed many with his impact off the bench against western Sydney Wanderers last weekend.
“Adam will definitely start. We need more people in that front third who have better instincts in the box to score and he definitely brings that to our team,” van Egmond said.
“He-s always a threat to score a goal and I-ve felt that we haven-t had that much of a threat.
“I think both Craig Goodwin and James Virgili have been really good this year, they-ve done some great things, but their instincts inside the box which probably let them down a little bit.
“Both Craig and James are more out and out wingers if you like. When the likes of Adam and Ryan play in the wide areas, they tend to tuck-in.
“They have good instincts coming inside where as Craig and James are more players who are looking to take people on in that wide area and get crosses in.”
Changes to the Jets- backline are also expected with Connor Chapman in doubt following a training mishap on Tuesday and Scott Neville being omitted from the squad.
“We need to have a look at Connor for tomorrow. He didn-t train today, so we-ll take that on face value tomorrow,” van Egmond said.
“Dom (Ritter) will start, he came through the youth team game well and Taylor Regan will start as well. Both of those players will come into the line-up.
“Taylor will start because I think Connor will be more so used off the bench if anything, depending on how he pulls up tomorrow.”
Van Egmond said he had spoken to Neville about the reasons for not including him in the squad.
“I had a good chat to Scott. He-s a really good kid and he-s a really good player but he-s just feeling a bit of pressure and feeling he-s down on confidence,” van Egmond said.
“Once you start feeling like that it-s like you-re trying to hide from the ball, you shirk responsibility and you over think things.
“He just needs a bit of time to start enjoying the game again and start enjoying training again.”
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben Kennedy (gk), 3. Zenon Caravella, 4. Josh Mitchell, 5. Dominik Ritter, 7. James Brown, 8. Ruben Zadkovich (c), 9. Emile Heskey, 11. Connor Chapman, 12. Josh Brillante, 13. Sam Gallaway, 14. Taylor Regan, 15. Craig Goodwin, 17. James Virgili, 18. Jacob Pepper, 19. Michael Bridges, 20. Mark Birighitti (gk), 22. Adam Taggart, 23. Ryan Griffiths, 25. Mitch Cooper, 26. Andrew Hoole.
Ins: James Brown, Dominik Ritter Outs: Scott Neville Unavailable: Ben Kantarovski (knee/season)
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart Friday, February 15 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.30pm (Gates open 6.30pm) Tickets from PROticket.