Jets return for start of pre-season

A portion of the Jets A-League squad returned to training on Monday to begin the first phase of the Club’s pre-season schedule.

A portion of the Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets A-League squad returned to training at Ray Watt Oval on Monday morning to begin the first phase of the Club-s pre-season schedule.

Jets assistant coach Craig Deans indicated that the players who took part in Monday-s session would form the bulk of the 10-man Jets squad that will travel to Singapore for the Soccer Sixes tournament in a fortnight-s time.

“They-ve had four weeks off now, some have had five weeks, so it-s just to make sure they don-t get too low on fitness.

“They-ve obviously got a tournament coming up in Singapore in a little while so it-s important for them to get prepared for that.

“To send them over there with them having done nothing for six weeks would have been too much of a risk.

“In the next two weeks, we-ll get their bodies going again, get a little bit of fitness into them.”

Deans said taking part in the Soccer Sixes tournament would form a key component of the Jets- preparations for the 2013/14 A-League season.

“We-ll be breaking (pre-season) up into different stages,” Deans said.

“This stage is primarily for the boys that are going to Singapore, then come early June we-ll have the majority of the squad here and ready to go.

“That will be the main block of pre-season, from June onwards.

“It-s about who-s available and who can cope with having a limited preparation for a tournament like (the Soccer Sixes).

“It is going to quite hot being in Singapore, they will be small games on a small pitch, so it will be reasonably fast-paced football I would imagine, so I think the younger guys could probably cope with that environment a bit better.”

Deans said the Jets players who travel to Singapore would benefit greatly from the experience they gain by competing at the event.

“We-re hoping to get as much out of the tournament as we can,” Deans said.

“It-s great for the Club to get to play in an international tournament like that and hopefully we can get some joy and success and maybe even win something while we-re there.

“It-s a good experience for the younger ones to travel and take part in an international tournament like that.”

In a positive sign for the Jets, Sam Gallaway and Ben Kantarovski were among those who completed Monday-s session. The pair had spent an extended period on the sidelines with injury towards the back end of last season.

“Sammy and Ben both worked really hard with the medical staff prior to the break and they weren-t too far away when they left,” Deans said.

“They-re back in now and we just have to be a little bit careful with them, but they-re both fully fit and ready to go.”

Deans said Ben Kennedy, Josh Mitchell are making good progress as they continue their rehabilitation from knee surgery.

“Ben and Josh both had a little clean-out on their knees, nothing major,” Deans said.

“Both will hopefully be off their crutches within next week according to the medical staff.

“From there it will be a nice, steady rehab and they won-t be too far away when we get the whole group back at the start of June.”

The Singapore Soccer Sixes tournament takes place on May 18 and May 19. CLICK HERE for more information.