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Jets strikeforce a work in progress

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond rates his potentially lethal strike force of England veteran Emile Heskey and young gun Adam Taggart as a work in progress.

Heskey and Taggart started a game together for the first time this season in Saturday's 2-0 away loss to Sydney FC.

It was Newcastle's first loss in seven games since their opening round loss to the same opponent.

Heskey, 35, came off just before the hour mark, having struggled to make an impact against an obdurate Sydney defence well marshalled by Serbian Nikola Petkovic.

Taggart, who had scored Newcastle's last six goals in their three previous games, had the odd chance, but wasn't as accurate as in recent weeks.

The duo have not started many games together as Taggart wasn't a regular run on member of the team last season.

Van Egmond tweaked his formation to accommodate Heskey and Taggart.

"There was moments there that the combination looked good and obviously it's definitely a work in progress, that type of combination as well," van Egmond said.

He was wary of just pumping long balls up the ground to the tall Englishman.

"We have to get better in the way in which we utilise Emile from the ball on the deck," van Egmond said.

"Because if you keep on over playing that (long) ball ... it becomes a bit more easier for the opposition to pick the second ball up."

Van Egmond was confident Taggart could handle the pressure of increased external expectations generated by his recent goalscoring form.

"There's obviously more expectation on someone like Adam at the moment from what he's done and he has to work with that and we have to work with him as well," van Egmond said.

"He's 20 years of age, he's still developing and he's still learning his craft and he's lucky he's got good people around him and he listens and he takes advice, so he'll be fine."

Nathan Burns is still looking for his first goal after eight games, having missed a golden opportunity against Sydney, when he blazed the ball over from close range.

"He's really frustrated and his teammates are frustrated as well," van Egmond said.

"It's more of an issue if he's not creating opportunities.

"He's just got to keep working hard and I'm sure sooner rather than later he'll find the back of the net."


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