Jets turn to youth

Injuries have forced the Newcastle Jets to include five Youth League players in their team for Saturday night's crucial Hyundai A-League clash against Gold Coast United.

Injuries have forced the Newcastle Jets to include five Youth League players in their team for Saturday night's crucial Hyundai A-League clash against Gold Coast United.

Already decimated with injuries, the Jets lost skipper Kasey Wehrman (ankle) and key midfielder Ruben Zadkovich (knee) in last week's 2-0 loss to the Mariners, forcing coach Branko Culina to call upon his Youth League squad for this week's match on the Gold Coast.

Defender Taylor Regan, who started the year as captain of Newcastle's youth team but has already been called up to replace Ljubo Milicevic, will be joined by fellow youth team-mates Samuel Gallaway, James Virgili, Mario Simic and Jacob Pepper.

Midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse, a local Newcastle junior who came through the Jets youth system, said he is confident the youngsters will be up to the task.

"The young boys have had the opportunity to step up at training this week and some of them have done quite well," Wheelhouse said on the Jets' website.

"Hopefully when they get their chance they'll take it with both hands, I know when I was that young, when I was 17 I took my shot with both hands."

"So we've got all faith in them coming in and doing a job."

Wheelhouse, who will be given the tough task of commanding the midfield in the absence of Wehrman and Zadkovich, said he was looking forward to stepping up to the challenge.

"I believe we can get the result up there, that's what we're there to do, so if that means more responsibility on me then I'll relish it," he said.

"I always like to rise to the occasion when we're playing the better teams as well, and Gold Coast are definitely one of the better teams in the league."

"We're under no illusions, we know it's going to be hard but we just need to go there with the right frame of mind and get some points."

Nikolai Topor-Stanley will wear the captain's armband alongside Regan in central defence with Italian import Marcello Fiorentini starting at right back and Tarek Elrich at left back.

The Jets will be boosted by the return of Kiwi international Jeremy Brockie, who is nearing full fitness after more than three months on the sideline with a foot injury while goakeeper Ben Kennedy has overcome his lingering concussion from cluttering into the goal post two weeks ago and will start in goal with Matthew Nash on the bench.