Young calls Newcastle home

Goalkeeper Neil Young has beenre-signed for another year ahead of Saturday night's F3 derby against local rivals the Central Coast Mariners.

The Newcastle Jets have this afternoon re-signed goalkeeper Neil Young for a further 12-months.

The 30-year-old shot-stopper joined the club at the start of this Hyundai A-League season, and has taken his opportunities when they have presented themselves, starting in 9 matches and keeping 3 clean sheets in the process.

Currently out of action with facial injuries sustained in the round 19 clash against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park after a collision with striker Shane Smeltz, Young has been far removed from his wife and children in Perth whilst carving out a career in Newcastle.

“It-s great,” said Young. “I couldn-t be happier, I can finally bring the family over, settle down and call Newcastle home.”

Head Coach Branko Culina shared the player-s delight, explaining that the Jets- latest retention target is an important part of the squad that is being assembled for next season. Indeed, seven players coming off contract have been re-signed by the club in recent times, and Culina is pleased with the playing roster that he has thus far compiled.

“I think it-s pretty obvious that the club had a good run whilst Neil was in goals and he-s got the experience which is vital to us.”

“It-s been a difficult one though, you don-t want to rush with these decisions because you want to make sure, but by the same token you-ve got to take into consideration the situation that Neil was in.”

“In the end, the club has decided to (re-sign him) earlier rather than later.”

Culina-s immediate sights, though, are firmly fixed on tomorrow-s third instalment of the passionate F3 Derby this season, with the Jets keen to cement their finals- spot against their bitter local rivals, the Central Coast Mariners.

Three competition points would mathematically seal the Novocastrians- place in the finals and would also keep alive the top-four ambitions of the Hunter-based club.

However, the side will likely travel to Gosford without the injured Sean Rooney (calf), Jobe Wheelhouse (groin) and captain Matt Thompson (hamstring) who all failed to complete today-s training session.

The injury news comes as a blow to Culina, particularly with skipper Thompson being in such sparkling form of late.

“(Thompson-s) been playing under stress for a little while but it just took its toll and the conditions on Tuesday night (against North Queensland Fury) didn-t help,” the coach said.

Far from being downbeat, the Jets- boss this afternoon explained that the passion and intensity of the derby would drive his side tomorrow evening.

“No one thought we could go and win two, three and four games in a row and we-re still the only team to have done that. So there-s a hell of a lot of good things about this team.”

“This team won-t let Newcastle down, it won-t let you down, it won-t let me down and importantly they won-t let themselves down,” he exclaimed.