Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has admitted that he may have erred in not starting Michael Bridges and Emile Heskey together sooner in the season.
Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has admitted that he may have erred in not starting former English Premier League stars Michael Bridges and Emile Heskey together sooner in the season after Friday night's 2-0 win over the Melbourne Heart.
Fans have been calling for Bridges and Heskey to be paired up front along with Socceroo Adam Taggart throughout the season.
In response, van Egmond said: 'If I listen to the fans I will end up sitting with the fans', and instead pushed his youth policy, playing youngsters James Virgili, James Brown and Craig Goodwin to moderate success.
But after a sparkling performance in the win over the Heart that saw the Newcastle team vault back into the top six, van Egmond said that he has perhaps found the Jets' best attacking combination.
"I thought it was excellent," van Egmond said of the Bridges-Heskey pairing after the match.
"Bridgey gives us some real smarts in that front third and real smarts in regards to gaming and he also gives some players some real confidence.
"He just started to run out of legs a little bit but he will get a lot of confidence from the 65 minutes.
"With Emile he can position himself and look to make runs a little bit better from players who have a little bit more football nous about them - that is not to say our other players haven't done well, it is just a little bit more football from those individuals.
"From my point of view we looked to invest in some other players who have come to the club and we thought they could do a certain job. Through injury, suspension and a number of things it hasn't gone to plan, but they (Bridges and Taggart) deserved their opportunity tonight and I thought they did really well."
Van Egmond stopped short of saying he regretted not going with the attacking combination of Heskey, Bridges and Taggart along with the club's equal top goal-scorer Ryan Griffiths earlier in the season.
He said that some of the younger players had shown plenty of promise throughout the season but admitted the likes of Bridges and Taggart bring some much-needed poise and confidence across the park and especially in front of goal.
"I don't know if regret is the right word," van Egmond said.
"Obviously from a coaching point of view I would like to ensure that we could do as well as we possibly can but from suspensions, injuries, representations and different things that have happened earlier in the year it has been a bit harder.
"Some players have done quite well. In some ways people may think it is quite harsh that a Craig Goodwin or James Virgili don't get a start as well because they have done extremely well as young boys coming through.
"But what these older players have done in regards to Bridgey and Taggs to a degree is that they seem to have a lot more confidence right at this moment.
"It just seems like we had goals in us tonight. You bring Bridgey in there, Taggs in there and you've got Ryan (Griffiths) and Emile - they have got goals in them. It is a real threat and it is good to see and Ryan and Emile got on the scoresheet."
Renowned for tinkering with his line-up week to week van Egmond indicated that he would most likely continue with Friday night's winning combination for next week's crucial home match against the Brisbane Roar.
"After that type of performance it is pretty plain to see that the team did extremely well, so unless we have people injured and we had a couple there like Bridgey more so coming off because he ran out of legs, but Emile (Heskey) was a little tight with his hip flexor while Zenon (Caravella) was precautionary with a hammy (hamstring).
"So hopefully they come up good. A few others have bumps and bruises here and there - but I envisage they should be all fit for next week's game.
"It can only get better in regards to them playing more together. It is great, I am over the moon that we have won.
"I am really happy for the members and happy for the players but it is one game and it all starts again next week."