Jets confident in Kennedy

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has expressed his confidence in 22-year-old Ben Kennedy who will take over in goals after the departure of regular goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has expressed his confidence in 22-year-old Ben Kennedy who will take over in goals after the departure of regular goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Covic shocked Jets supporters when he left the club this week to take up a three-year deal with Swedish side FC Elfsborg.

Kennedy, who has been warming the bench as reserve keeper at the Jets for the past four seasons, has been handed the gloves for Newcastle remaining four group matches in the Asian Champions League and he has the full support of his team-mates and the coaching staff.

"It is a great opportunity for Ben," van Egmond told Sportal. "I know the team and the coaching staff believe in him, so from my point of view, it is a case that Ben gets the position here and now and we wait and see."

"He has been working with Ante (Covic) and his game has progressed and he has developed physically as well. He needs games and he will get the support of all the players and the coaching staff to ensure he will be at his best."

Kennedy, a Young Socceroo, has featured in 16 Hyundai A-League matches and took over as the fill-in goalkeeper when former glovesman Liam Reddy left the club for the Queensland Roar at the end of Newcastle's debut season before Covic arrived to take over as custodian in 2006.

"He had that spell about three years ago when he did quite well until we got another keeper in," said van Egmond.

"But the timing is right now. He's turned 22 years of age, he has been in the wings for quite some time. We have got three weeks now to work with Ben and get him ready for the next ACL match against Nagoya Grampus."

Kennedy, a Newcastle junior, said he was excited to finally get his chance to show his wares on the world stage in the Asian Champions League.

"It is a good to get an opportunity and I hope to take it with two hands and cement a spot in the team," he said.

"I have the full support of the team and the coaching staff which makes it easier, so I am just looking forward to getting out there and giving my all to the team."

"The first win gave us a lot of confidence and I think we can qualify in the top two and make it through to the next round."

"I am just looking forward to the next four games and hopefully getting some wins and qualifying."