Heskey eager to stay with Jets

EMILE Heskey is optimistic about extending his stay at the Jets and is keen to move his family to the city.

In a positive end to a controversial week in which captain Jobe Wheelhouse quit, Heskey said he hoped to sign a new deal with Newcastle.

‘‘We have not come to any agreements yet, but I am optimistic,’’ Heskey said before today’s game against Sydney at Hunter Stadium.

‘‘We will see what package they can put together. Not just financially, but everything else.

‘‘My family aren’t here at the minute. We will see how that goes with bringing them over and what we can look at there.’’ Heskey, who joined the Jets on a seven-month, $700,000 deal, has scored eight goals in 17 appearances.

Keen to follow tonight's A-League clash between the Jets and Sydney FC? Join David Lowe's live blog at theherald.com.au from 5.30.

His form, not surprisingly, has sparked interest from big-budget clubs in the Middle East and Asia.

‘‘They are options, but to be honest, no,’’ he said when asked about Asia.

‘‘We will discuss this one first and take it from there.’’

After initially joining Heskey in Newcastle, his wife, Chantelle Tagoe, and two youngest sons, Reigan and Jaden, returned to England.

‘‘Skype is a great thing,’’ Heskey said. ‘‘There has been a lot of that. 

‘‘They came over for Christmas, which was great.

‘‘The family is a major consideration. You can’t just say financially it is great. You have to weigh up everything – emotionally, financially, family.’’

Heskey, one of six Jets off contract, did not put a time frame on discussions.

‘‘I am pretty open,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t really put time lines on anything.’’

His immediate concern is beating the decimated Sydney side tonight and continuing the Jets’ march towards the play-offs.

‘‘It is another big game,’’ he said. ‘‘They are all big for us until the end of the season. We want to try and get ourselves in those play-off spots.’’

Wheelhouse shocked the Jets when he walked away after being told he would not be offered a deal next season.

‘‘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.’’

Heskey ended a five-game dry spell with the equaliser in the 1-all draw with Wellington.

‘‘I don’t get frustrated. I just go out and try and play the best I can. The goals will come.’’

The former England striker scored in each of the Jets’ two previous encounters with Sydney this season.

He smashed home a volley in the 3-2 triumph in round two, which was Sydney marquee Alessandro Del Piero’s first at home and played in front of 35,419.

‘‘Atmosphere-wise that was brilliant,’’ Heskey said. ‘‘It was like England.’’ 

The target man was also on hand to tap in the Jets’ second in a 2-1 home win in round 12.

‘‘You do have teams that you do have a purple patch with,’’ he said. ‘‘Hopefully I can keep that going, but the main thing is getting points.’’

Ruben Zadkovich and Josh Mitchell return from suspension for Wheelhouse and Taylor Regan. Rookie Andrew Hoole is expected to replace left back Sam Gallaway, who is suspended for a week after being sent off for two bookable offences against Wellington.

The Jets are fifth, two points and three places above Sydney.

 ●  Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said he had no qualms about throwing teenager Scott Galloway into the cauldron of a clash with city rivals Melbourne Heart.

The 17-year-old fullback, fresh from the AIS, is set to start in place of suspended Diogo Ferreira in the derby at Etihad Stadium tonight.

Emile Heskey.

Emile Heskey.

‘‘He plays for Melbourne Victory so we can’t find a game that we’re going to play in front of 3000 people for him,’’  Postecoglou said.


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