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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Ben Kennedy injury settles goalkeeping battle

JACK Duncan appearscertain to start in goals for Newcastlein round one against defending A-League championsAdelaide on Sunday after Ben Kennedy injured his Achilles tendon at training on Wednesday.
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Duncan, who has returned to the Jets after two seasons and seven A-League starts for Perth, has been Newcastle’s preferred shot-stopper in recent trial games but was still locked in a battle with Kennedy for the starting spot.

However, Kennedyhad scans and saw a specialist after injurying his ankle in training at Ray Watt Oval on Wednesday morning.

Results of the scans were not expected until Thursday morning but the setback has all but ruled him out of the clash at Hunter Stadium on Sunday and cast doubt over his immediate future.

Long-term injury would be a bitter blow for Kennedy, who started in only one game last season and in 27 over the past four campaigns while mostly a back-up toMark Birighitti, who has joined EPL club Swansea this year.

Meanwhile, in-formAndrew Hoole believes he and the Jets will take confidence and a winning mentality into theopening round.

Hoole scoredsevengoals in six trials before strikingagain last week in a mid-week intra-club hit-out.The Jets are also on a roll, winning their past six trials. They followed three wins in China with victories over Edgeworth 4-0, Melbourne City 4-0 andWestern Sydney 2-0.

Although the recent successes havebeen against understrength opposition, Hoole said the Jets would benefit from the streak.

“I think we’ve won a few on the trot so obviously that’s nice,” Hoole said. “I think the biggest thing is that winning mentality. We were behind in a few of the games and we came back and showedgood resilience and found a wayto win.It gives us confidence going into round one.”

Hoole will make his A-League return for the Jets on Sunday after playing last season with Sydney. The 22-year-old former Broadmeadow Magic playerhas scored only once in the A-League, for Newcastle from the penalty spotin 2014-15, and was keen to build on his pre-season run.

“Confidence is a big one for me,” he said.“Obviously I’vescored a few goals pre-season, which is nice, and I just want to help the team as much as I can, so I’m looking to carry that form into the first game.”

The Jets are two weeks into the tenure of coach Mark Jones after the shock sacking of Scott Millerand Hoole said the transition had been“very smooth”.

“Obviously a new coach coming in has different ideas, different styles and different ways they want to do things, but I think it’s pretty similar to what we had before,” he said.

While Newcastle have seemingly overcome the disruption of a coaching change, Adelaide have struggled after the loss offive key players and bowed out to Queensland NPL club Redlands in the FFA Cup.

Hoole, though, expected a tough match against the Reds.

“Obviously they’ve got a lot of new players, a new squad, they’ve lost a few of their key players, but I don’t think that’s an issue for them,” he said.“They won the league, so they’re going to be full of confidence and looking to make sure they can go back to back.”

The Jets, meanwhile, have asked fans to hold a minute’s applause in the 10thminute of Sunday’s gamefor former playerBernardo Ribeiro, who died in May at age26.

Andrew Hoole at training.