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ACL opportunity in front of former starlet Patafta

Kaz Patafta may get his chance in the Asian Champions League next week after being overlooked by the Newcastle Jets recently. The former starlet has struggled in recent seasons and has failed to live up to great expectations placed on him but he may get an opportunity when the Jets take on Nagoya Grampus at home next Wednesday.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond has a selection dilemma in that Marko Jesic will be out with a knee injury and will trial Patafta on the right side in a match against Central Coast Mariners today.

"At this stage I'm leaning towards Kaz," van Egmond said.

"I think he can do a really good job on the right-hand side.

"He is not going to outrun people, so it is good to play him on the right-hand side so he can come in on his left foot.

"He has fabulous engines, can come back in on his left foot, the way he sees the game, his decision-making . . . all that stuff is very good."

van Egmond said that Patafta had done nothing wrong in the past and his lack of game time was mainly due to team balance but believes with hard work he will make the grade.

"There has never been anything sinister behind Kaz's lack of game time," van Egmond added.

"It has been about the balance of the team.

"It is not to say he has a mortgage on the position, but he has a real chance to prove himself.

"He is playing for a contract and if there is one player I would love to see succeed as a footballer it is Kaz.

"He does everything right. He wants to become a footballer and works ever so hard.

"He is quiet, unassuming and will do extras.

"If there is one person out of the whole of the group you would love to see go on, he is definitely the one."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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