Kemp keen to return

Matthew Kemp will return for Melbourne Victory against Newcastle Jets at Etihad Stadium on Thursday, refreshed and ready-to-roll after a two-week layoff due to the birth of his first child.

Matthew Kemp will return for Melbourne Victory against Newcastle Jets at Etihad Stadium on Thursday, refreshed and ready-to-roll after a two-week layoff due to the birth of his first child.

Kemp has had to play the waiting game, with the arrival of his first child taking longer than expected, meaning he sat out the away clashes against North Queensland and Perth.

His wife Steph gave birth to a baby boy late last week, much to Kemp's relief, with mother and child both healthy. He now has to endure another wait, this time to return to the field against the Jets on Thursday.

"It-s all good, I'm champing at the bit to get back out there again, It-s tough missing a couple of games but I'm really excited to get back out there and get back into things. Get back to normal. I'm looking forward to it," he said.

Kemp said he had learned all about patience over the past couple of weeks, but he couldn't be happier to be a father for the first time.

"It-s hard not knowing. Two weeks ago, we thought it could be any day now. There's nothing you can do, you just got to wait. It plays on your mind a bit. He and Steph are doing well, that's a weight off my mind. I can focus on Thursday now," he said.

In Kemp's absence, Melbourne has had several defensive personnel changes with Surat Sukha filling his traditional place on the right, Leigh Broxham playing in Evan Berger's place on the left, while Adrian Leijer has returned to the club to take the central defensive spot Kemp occupied when Kevin Muscat was injured.

"It-s changed a lot, but we've got good players right the way through the squad who can step in and do a job. It-s good that we've got that kind of depth. If I get back in this week and get my spot, it doesn't matter who-s around, we-ve got quality players," he said.

Newcastle has won four out of its past five matches against Melbourne, including a shock 4-2 win at EnergyAustralia Stadium in December last year, the previous time the two teams met. Kemp said he expects Newcastle will be up and about and looking for a result after knocking off the previously unbeaten Gold Coast on Sunday.

"I expect them to be buzzing after their result on the weekend. They're obviously full of confidence and they are coming here to knock us off. They are quite a good side, they've got some players all the way through," he said.

"We're going to have to be on top of our game to get any sort of result. But being here back at home after a couple of extra away trips, we-re going to be ready to come out firing."

"They've been a tough team for us. I don-t know what it is. The way they play their football. They frustrate us at times. We'll have to be mentally strong and try and break then down. It's something that we can do. We have to be switched on. We can-t take any game lightly. We really need to start picking up more points than we have been."