Jets lose Bridges

A virus has curtailed Newcastle Jets import Michael Bridges' planned comeback match against the Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.

A virus has curtailed Newcastle Jets import Michael Bridges' planned comeback match against the Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.

Bridges announced his return to the Jets during the week after six months of retirement.

He had been in full training with the club for the past eight weeks and looked certain to make his much anticipated return to the professional ranks this weekend until falling ill mid-week.

"He's got a bit of flu and he's a bit rundown, so he didn't train today and he'll give the weekend a miss but hopefully we'll see him back on deck fairly soon,'' van Egmond at the team announcement this week.

''With everything that's been going on, I think it all caught up with him."

''He felt completely rundown, so it was a combination of not knowing if he was going to be coming back, and also the amount of training he's been doing, and he's also got a business that he's running, so he's really run himself down."

In other team news, Jets youth team captain Jacob Pepper has been drafted into the squad to cover for the loss of midfielder Ruben Zadkovich, who has been ruled out with a groin injury while fellow youth team member Jack Duncan will come in to cover for reserve goalkeeper Matthew Nash, who picked up groin strain at training.

Ben Kantarovski is also in doubt with a calf injury but will travel with the squad to Melbourne as will Brazilian defender Tiago who is looking to make his return to the team after two weeks on the sideline with a hamstring injury.

However, van Egmond indicated that youngster Taylor Regan would more than likely retain his spot in the run-on side ahead of Tiago, while Kantarovski would most likely start from the bench if he passed a fitness test before the match.

"We wouldn't be starting either of them (Kantarovski or Tiago), right at this moment, and definitely as far as the squad is concerned, we won't take any risks,'' van Egmond said.

"We will now how the pull up from the last training session. Tiago needs some game time and to get up to match fitness and Taylor has been doing a terrific job."

Meanwhile, forward Marko Jesic returns to the squad after getting some match fitness in the youth team.

Van Egmond said he is wary of the Heart, who have been playing good football without a result.

"They are the only team without a win, so they will be very keen to register their first win," he said.

"We go there with a lot of respect for them. They have been controlling the majority of games they have been involved in and to be honest we were probably very lucky to get all three points against them in the first round game."

"But the fact that we scored three goals against them and that is a real psychological boost when you come up against them again."

"We are confident we can score goals and we just have to concentrate on not conceding silly goals and with the work we have been doing in the last couple of weeks will start to get us in a better position to do that."