NEWLY re-signed Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy has the fight of his career to get back into Gary van Egmond’s starting squad.
Kennedy, 25, and 20-year-old forward James Virgili signed two-year contracts with the club yesterday, securing their position at the Jets until 2015.
Kennedy has recently had knee surgery and has played only one game for the Jets this season.
He has lost his starting position to in-form goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and faces a battle to get it back.
‘‘Mark is doing really well at the moment. Obviously it’s going to be hard to get back in there, and while the team is winning you wouldn’t want to change the side,’’ Kennedy said.
‘‘It’s been tough to watch, and it’s also been good at the same time because the team is winning.’’
Kennedy set for fight of his life
‘‘I’ve just got to worry about myself and get my knee right and do all the good things on the training field, and hopefully that’s enough.
He never doubted he would spend more time with his home club.
‘‘I was always confident that I would get re-signed. I felt with my season last year I did pretty well and I was looking forward to this year and doing even better but unfortunately I got injured.’’
It could be a long time yet before fans see Kennedy back in action.
‘‘I saw the surgeon yesterday and he’s happy with how it’s going. It’s probably about another four weeks away.’’
The local boy is keen to stay with the club for a long time.
‘‘Obviously being a local boy I always wanted to stay in Newcastle, it’s my home club and my friends and family are here and it’s always good playing in front of them.’’
Virgili, who also signed a two-year deal with the club, has had a cracking start to the season, appearing in all six of The Jets’ A-League games.
With his future secured Virgili is keen to concentrate on Sunday’s match against Wellington.
In other news, the Jets’ five Young Socceroos, Joshua Brillante, Connor Chapman, Jack Duncan, Mitchell Oxborrow and Adam Taggart, will arrive home from the United Arab Emirates today after a 2-0 loss to Iraq in the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation under-19 championship. Jets’ coaching and conditioning staff will assess if they are available for Sunday.