Knee sidelines Kantarovski for up to eight weeks

Newcastle have been dealt a blow ahead of their clash with Gold Coast United on Wednesday night with dynamic midfielder Ben Kantarovski sidelined with a knee injury.

Newcastle have been dealt a blow ahead of their clash with Gold Coast United on Wednesday night with dynamic midfielder Ben Kantarovski sidelined with a knee injury.

Kantarovski injured his knee at training on Monday and medical staff confirmed the worst fears on Tuesday by announcing the 19-year-old had the torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.

He will undergo surgery later this week and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Jets skipper Ljubo Milicevic admitted the loss of the talented youngster was a setback but he was confident the Newcastle squad could adequately cover the position.

"It is unfortunate but that is football," Milicevic told Sportal. "We have players ready to step in and with Jobe Wheelhouse sidelined I would assume Marcello Fiorentini would be one of the players in contention for that spot.

Milicevic sang the praises of the Italian import who has bided his time playing in the Jets National Youth League side and coming on in Jets fixtures throughout the season.

"He has done well ever time he has played," Milicevic said of Fiorentini.

"People don't understand that you can't just walk into any squad in the world, especially if you are a foreigner. It takes time."

"He has waited for his chance and he has been professional the whole way through and he has deserved to play and it is good to see him getting his chance and him taking it."

"He hasn't complained - it is not easy when you are not playing all the time but he has stepped in and he has done the job and that is what you want from your squad mates."

"It is a squad game - it is not about the 11 it is about the 23 so I think we have got a great squad, second to none in the league."

In other team news, goalkeeper Ben Kennedy looks like returning from a knee injury he suffered in the dramatic draw with Brisbane three weeks ago, to take over from Matthew Nash in goals, while Marko Jesic still has to pass a fitness test on an injured calf but is expected to play.

"The team is looking great, we are all really positive at the moment," Milicevic said.

"We always have been even when it was tough for us - it was the team spirit and comraderie that has pulled us through - so we are all really looking forward to beating the Gold Coast on Wednesday night."