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Feb 14, 2013

Bridges out to change van Egmond's mind

Veteran striker Michael Bridges plans to use a rare start to show why he should remain a Newcastle Jets player beyond this A-League season.

The 34-year-old Englishman is set for his first start of the season as Jets coach Gary van Egmond looks to mix things up in Friday night's clash with Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium.

Bridges has been out of favour for much of the season, limited to eight appearances off the bench, and has been told by the club he won't be offered a new contract next season.

But the former Leeds striker is not giving up hope yet, and sees his recall to the team not only an opportunity to impress his own coach but also potential suitors from other clubs.

"First and foremost, you want to audition and get something here," Bridges said on Thursday.

"That's the opportunity (I've got) and, if not, it is a showpiece to carry on playing football (somewhere else).

"But at the end of the day, I'm a Jets player and we want to win this bloody game.

"... I'd like to think (I can change the manager's mind) with goals and chances and wins. Wins help."

The Jets dropped out of the top six after a 2-1 loss to Western Sydney last week, and van Egmond has seemingly run out of patience with some of his under-performing players.

Socceroos striker Adam Taggart is also likely to form part of the attack alongside Bridges and Emile Heskey.

Bridges and Heskey will reunite after playing for England's under 19s together and Bridges hoped the veteran duo could offer something fresh.

"I think it's 17 years on we're getting the chance to have a gig together again," Bridges said.

"We do it in training regularly and to put it out there's going to be great.

"We've both got footballing brains and played at the highest level - hopefully we can bring something different."

Taylor Regan and Dominik Ritter could also come into the side in defence at the expense of Josh Mitchell and Scott Neville.

The Heart have been boosted with Dutch recruit Marcel Meeuwis receiving his international clearance and likely to play some part in the match.

John Aloisi's side have to correct an awful recent record away from home, taking just one point from their past nine games on the road.

"It's vital we start picking up points because, if we want to make finals, you have to win away from home," Aloisi said.

"And if we do make finals, it's more than likely we'll have to play away from home."

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