Imposing utility Allan Welsh and young attacker Travis Cooper are the two players that Newcastle Jets Head Coach Phil Stubbins has promoted to his initial 18-man squad for Saturday’s Hyundai A-League clash against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.Each of the 16 players in the matchday squad for last week’s narrow 1-0 loss against Sydney FC have retained their place.
With defender Taylor Regan under an injury cloud ahead of the duel due to a knock to his knee sustained against Sydney FC, Welsh may be called upon to partner impressive recruit Daniel Mullen in the heart the Newcastle defence against the Melbournians.
Another option for Jets boss Phil Stubbins is to shift Ben Kantarovski from midfield into the backline, and bring Jacob Pepper back into the starting side to help control the engine room alongside Zenon Caravella.
The Jets have struggled for goals throughout Hyundai A-League season 10, so T. Cooper may get his chance to show that he can influence matches and, crucially, add firepower to the team.
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Kantarovski spoke to the local press following training at the University of Newcastle on Thursday, and said that Melbourne City would offer a stern test.
The City slickers lost 3-2 to Western Sydney Wanderers in a mid-week fixture played in Parramatta on Wednesday, but are amidst a fight with Brisbane Roar to secure a place in the Finals.
“They did pretty well in patches [against Wanderers] and they’d be pretty disappointed I think because they had some decisions go against them and that made it a little bit more difficult for them,” Kantarovski said.
“At the end of the day they did lose [so] they will be raring to get a result this weekend.”
“They’ll be coming out with something to prove, but so will we. We’re still trying to get our wins together and we’re trying to back our performances up that we’ve been building on for the past few weeks.”
“We’re going to go out there looking to win like we have every other week,” Kantarovski said.
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Meanwhile, Jets attacking ace Andrew Hoole – who is ranked 16th in the competition for assists and chances created – reaffirmed Kantarovski’s sentiments that Newcastle’s players would not rest until the fat lady sings for them on Hyundai A-League season 10.
“This season has been difficult,” Hoole said. “I think if you look at results and the position that we are in on the table then it’s not great, but we have gone into each game thinking that we can get the three points and we’ve put our best foot forward, and that’s all you can do.”
“If the results aren’t there then we need to work harder and keep trying to get the three points and get those results.”
“I am just trying to work as hard as I can for the team and for the coaching staff here,” he said.
Newcastle Jets Squad vs. Melbourne City FC: 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTAÑO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk) (C), 21. Daniel MULLEN, 22. Ki-je LEE, 25. Brandon LUNDY, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 30. John SOLARI (Gk) *two to be omitted*
Ins: 10. Travis COOPER (promoted), 18. Allan WELSH (promoted)
Unavailable: 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee – indefinite), 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle – 5 weeks), 26. Nick COWBURN (knee – 1 week)
Melbourne City vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 21
Saturday 14 March 2015
AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Live on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio: LIVE on ABC Grandstand & 1233 ABC Newcastle
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