Despite having four teeth knocked out and 40 stitches in his mouth, Newcastle Jets keeper Mark Birighitti has put his hand up to play against Hyundai A-League reigning champions Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
Birighitti suffered the shocking facial injuries in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Sydney FC after copping a boot in the face by Sky Blues striker Shane Smeltz.
The young gloveman had two teeth reinserted on Monday as is scheduled to have further dental work on Wednesday to repair the damage.
And he hasn’t ruled out suiting up on Friday night when champions Victory come to Hunter Stadium.
“My lip is swollen but I’m not in any pain which is a good sign,” Birighitti told the Newcastle Herald.
“I had a chat with the gaffer (coach Scott Miller) this morning and will sit down [on Tuesday] with [goalkeeping coach] Jess Vanstrattan and Justin Dougherty, the physio, and see where we are at.
“I’m hoping to do modified sessions throughout the week. I’m not ruling myself out for Friday night, I’m keen to get back out there as soon as possible.
“I want to do it for the players and the club itself, the club is heading in the right direction. Also the reception I got from the fans coming off the field [on Saturday] was amazing.”
Smeltz came under fire over the incident but escaped any sanction by the Hyundai A-League Match Review Panel after referee Peter Green decided the collision was accidental.
Despite the severity of his injury, Birighitti says he feels no animosity towards Smeltz.
“He got in contact with me on Sunday. We had a good chat,” Birighitti said.
“He wanted to let me know he didn’t do it intentionally and that it was an accident.
“I’m not one to hold grudges. I know Smeltzy well off the field. Even though he could have done a little bit better, we have ended on good terms.”If Birighitti isn’t given a medical clearance to play on Friday, Ben Kennedy will start in goal against Victory.
A photo posted by Mark Birighitti (@markbirraz1) on Oct 17, 2015 at 4:03am PDT