February 1, 2013
Wheelhouse exit will spur Jets on: Heskey
Team Stat Comparison
|Newcastle Jets||Sydney FC|
|Goals for *||0.9||1.2|
|Goals against *||1.3||2.5|
|Last 5 home||L-L-D-W-D||D-W-W-W-W|
|Last 5 away||D-L-W-L-D||L-D-L-L-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Newcastle Jets | Sydney FC|
Superstar striker Emile Heskey says Newcastle will use Jobe Wheelhouse's shock departure from the Jets as added motivation in Saturday's crucial A-League clash with Sydney FC.
Former captain Wheelhouse shocked the Jets when he walked out on Thursday after being told he would not be offered a contract for next season.
Heskey on Friday joined Jets coach Gary van Egmond and chief executive Robbie Middleby in praising Wheelhouse's contribution to the club. And the former England international said Newcastle's players were keen to secure the three points against Sydney as a tribute to Wheelhouse.
"Jobe has been a great captain and a great servant to the club, he will be missed," Heskey said.
"The lads really love him here. Hopefully we will put on a good performance for him."
Newcastle's tribulations have almost been matched by those of Sydney's in the lead up to their third meeting of the season.
The Sky Blues have been forced to make four changes to the team which fell 3-1 away to Melbourne Victory last round.
Brett Emerton (back) has been ruled out, Yairo Yau has been lost to international duty with Panama, while Fabio and Tiago Calvano are serving one match suspensions.
Goalkeeper Ivan Necevski returns from an ankle injury to take Matthew Nash's place on the bench while Terry Antonis, Peter Triantis, Nathan Sherlock, Paul Reid and Aaron Calver have been recalled to coach Farina's extended 18-man squad.
The Sky Blues attack looked to have finally found its gear in the 7-1 round 17 hammering of Wellington two weeks ago.
But Heskey, who has scored in both of the Jets' wins over Sydney this year, backed the Newcastle defence to handle anything the visitors throw at them at Hunter Stadium.
"Defending was a major thing (for us) and everyone has been working hard and I think we have turned the corner where we are defending better and conceding less goals," Heskey said.
"It's nice to get a few clean sheets and we have worked tirelessly to do that."
Sydney, who sit two points behind fifth placed Newcastle on the A-League ladder, have managed a clean sheet only three times this season and Farina said that was the main focus of his depleted side as they attempt to keep their finals hopes alive.
"It has been a problem for us," Farina said.
"There are reasons for that, not excuses but reasons.
"You have to have a settled defence, in any team the cornerstone of the game is built on defence, and if you look at us we have had to change our defensive line every week.
"That doesn't help stability and understanding but we have been forced into it.
"If we can get a clean sheet that would be fantastic, that means we would pick up points."