Emile Heskey says he will welcome the attention of the Central Coast defenders if it frees up his Jets teammates in Saturday night's F3 derby.
Newcastle Jets marquee striker Emile Heskey says he will welcome the attention of the Central Coast Mariners defenders if it frees up his teammates in Saturday night's F3 derby at Hunter Stadium.
After enjoying an impressive start to his stint in the Hyundai A-League with five goals in his first six matches, Heskey has been intensely marked by opposition team's defences and has failed to score in his last three outings.
Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswick said this week that keeping Heskey quiet will be a priority in this weekend's match and can go a long way to helping defeat Newcastle.
But the former England international feels if Central Coast focus solely on him, it will be to their detriment.
"They can put extra attention on me, but there are 10 other players that can do damage," Heskey said at training on Friday.
"We have good players here, so if they do put more attention on me, that will create space for someone else.
"We just have to play our game. We haven't got any tactics against one particular individual. We just have to play our game and hopefully we will get the result."
The Jets inflicted the Mariners' only defeat of the season so far with a gritty 2-1 win when the teams met earlier in the season.
However, Heskey believes his side cannot take too much out of that game.
"We're a few more games into the season now and everyone is aware of how people play and what to do to combat that, so it's going to be a different game to the first derby," he said.
"Derbies are derbies - they are meant to be fierce and they are meant to be fiery.
"Having played in one already it is no different. Everybody wants to win the game."
Heskey acknowledged that he hasn't been lucky in front of goal in the past few matches but said it is nothing that has required special attention at training.
"I haven't set myself any targets, but you want to be scoring as many as you can," he said.
"We're working on a lot of things, not just early balls to me.
"It's something that we're working on, not just getting chances, but taking our chances and cutting out mistakes too as well to try and keep a clean sheet."
The talismanic striker also paid tribute Mariners youngster Tom Rogic, who will miss this weekend's game as he is on national duty with the Socceroos.
"For me he (Rogic) is one of the best players in the league," Heskey said.
"I enjoy watching him to be honest so it will be nice not to be playing against him."