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Kennedy inks new Jets deal

January 19, 2015 12:05:34 UK

Newcastle Jets have signed goalkeeper Ben Kennedy to a two-year contract extension.

The former Australia U-23 international will remain with the club until the end of the 2016-17 season, taking him to more than a decade’s service with the Jets.

A native Novocastrian, Kennedy has replaced Mark Birighitti as the club’s first-choice keeper this season.

Jets coach Phil Stubbins axed Birighitti after six games, unhappy with the 14 goals the team had conceded to that point.

Kennedy has conceded 14 in his eight appearances, but earned the first clean sheet of Newcastle’s campaign in their final game before the Asian Cup break when they drew 0-0 away to Sydney FC.

The 27-year-old has been with Newcastle since 2006, though before his current run in the team had only been first choice for three seasons between 2009 and 2012.

Stubbins says Kennedy is coming into his prime as a goalkeeper, adding: “We are pleased to have secured Ben’s services for what we believe will be the best years of his career.

“Beyond his ability on the football pitch, Ben possesses a great character and a fantastic attitude, so he is the type of player I want to take forward with this club. Ben always trains and prepares in the right way and represents the club with pride.”

Kennedy said he was aware he would have to keep working hard to retain his first team place at Newcastle, who areĀ 5.00 to finish in the top six.

“There is always strong competition for the goalkeeper position, so I am pleased that I have played in the last few matches,” he added. “Now I am looking forward to the second half of the season and building on our recent clean sheet.”

The Jets have conceded more goals than any other A-League team this year, and also have the worst goal difference in the competition.

They resume their season on 24th January when they travel to Adelaide United, looking for just their second victory of the season.

The Jets are 7.00 to beat Adelaide United, who are 1.44 to win themselves, with the draw 4.33.

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