Teenage defender Josh Brillante is set to make his first start for the Newcastle Jets at fullback in Friday night's against Melbourne Victory.
Teenage defender Josh Brillante is set to make his first start for the Newcastle Jets at fullback in this Friday night's Hyundai A-League clash against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
Regular right back Scott Neville is still sidelined with a groin injury and Brillante looks likely to start in the fullback position at the expense of Taylor Regan, who filled the right back role in last week's 2-1 derby win over the Mariners.
"As a fullback he (Brillante) probably offers a bit more than Taylor in that area," Jets coach Gary van Egmond said at the team announcement on Wednesday.
"Taylor (Regan) can do a decent job as a fullback but I wouldn't call him a specialist fullback, he is more comfortable as a centre back.
"So we just have to weigh up where we think the best are going to be suited."
Brillante, 19, burst onto the scene with a stellar season last year with Gold Coast United with 12 appearances in the A-League.
Van Egmond said the young Australian representative has gelled with the Jets playing group nicely and has earned his call-up.
"He can play as a fullback but also as a holding midfielder. He is a really good kid with a good attitude. He is technically proficient, a good passer of the ball real competitor and he is has fitted in really well here," van Egmond said.
"He is going to improve and he needs to improve and he knows the areas he needs to improve in, but he is another one of these younger ones who is developing nicely."
Brillante's strength and fitness are also key attributes and he fits the mould of the Jets' game plan where the fullbacks often overlap in attack.
"He is not blessed with blistering pace but what he does is time his run really well," van Egmond said.
"He gets onto the shoulder of wide people and times his run of overlapping and he can beat a player in a wide area as well. He has got some really good attributes for that position."
In other team news Ryan Griffiths will definitely play this Friday night after sitting out training on Wednesday due to a neck injury, while Jack Duncan is on standby for reserve goal-keeper Ben Kennedy who is still being troubled by a chronic knee injury.
Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro has also been included in the 18-man squad and will battle it out for a spot in the final 15-man team with veteran Michael Bridges and youngster Adam Taggart.
"Bernardo is an out and out no.10 and we have the option of playing Ryan (Griffiths) in a wide area as well, so there are some options we can have a look at," van Egmond said.
"We know what Bridgey can offer coming off the bench - he is a handful. But we have to decide whether we want that this weekend."
Newcastle Jets squad 1. Ben Kennedy (gk), 3. Tiago Calvano, 4. Josh Mitchell, 5. Dominik Ritter, 6. Ben Kantarovski, 8. Ruben Zadkovich, 9. Emile Heskey, 10. Bernardo Ribeiro, 12. Josh Brillante, 14. Taylor Regan, 15. Craig Goodwin, 16. Jobe Wheelhouse (c), 17. James Virgilli, 19. Michael Bridges, 20. Mark Birighitti (gk), 22. Adam Taggart, 23. Ryan Griffiths, 30. Jack Duncan (gk).