Emile Heskey arrived in Newcastle to much fanfare last season. His first training session came on September 28, 2012, just nine days before his Jets kicked off the 2012/13 season against Adelaide United at the Hunter Stadium. The former England international was a key player for Newcastle, leading the team with nine goals, but left fans wondering if things might have been different with a full pre-season.
Jets supporters will get to test their theories in 2013/14 as Heskey is back in Newcastle to take part in pre-season training and friendlies between now and the mid-October season kick off. Yet it is worth remembering that a slow start was not actually part of Heskey's story last season, even if that has been somewhat obscured by time. Of his nine goals last year, Heskey had scored five by Round 6, including both of the Jets' goals in a 2-1 defeat of Melbourne Victory in Round 4.
Getting a chance to round into better fitness will likely be the greatest benefit to Heskey as the Jets will be hoping to get a full season out of the 35-year-old. Newcastle scored the second fewest goals in the A-League last year yet only missed out on finals football by a single point. If a pre-season fitness regimen can set up a healthy Heskey for 2013/14, the Jets could well be back in the finals, angling for the league's championship trophy.