Adam Taggart says he is ready to step-up and play a leading role in attack in the absence of injured teammate Emile Heskey.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart says he is ready to step-up and play a leading role in attack in the absence of injured teammate Emile Heskey.
Heskey is likely to be sidelined for six weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 medial ligament strain in the Jets- 1-0 trial match win over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
Taggart appears to be a potential candidate to step into the former England international-s shoes and play at the point of the attack in a number nine role.
“It-s a big blow for the team that Emile-s out, but it-s a challenge for me to step-up whilst he-s on the sidelines and take responsibility for that role,” Taggart said.
“Playing as a number nine is something I-m used to and it-s probably my natural position, so I-m looking forward to the challenge.
“Emile has always done a great job for the team and he-s a great player to play with, but I don-t think there-s any added pressure on me now that he is injured.
“I-m not looking at it that way, I-m just focusing on going out there and doing the best I can for the Jets and hopefully I can do that.”
Taggart said the rapid development of a number of Jets players since last season was evidence the Club has enough depth to cover for injuries to key players.
“This season we-ve definitely got a lot more depth and I think that-s shown in the pre-season games,” Taggart said.
“The younger boys in the squad are stepping up now with the experience of last season under their belts and the senior boys bring that experience, so there-s a good balance there.
“This is the year where we-ve got to kick-on and really try and do something and make our mark in the A-League.”
Taggart missed the Jets- trial match against Melbourne due to a minor knee injury, but said he is confident of returning in the Jets- clash with Central Coast Mariners in Tamworth on Sunday, September 29.
“The knee is feeling really good,” Taggart said.
“Missing the trip to Melbourne was just a precautionary thing. I-ve done a bit of training with the strength and conditioning coach this week and it-s feeling very stable and ready to go again.”