Bridges to lead Jets in new campaign

Michael Bridges will lead the team in 2010/11 and Ljubo Milicevic will be vice-captain.

The Newcastle Jets have this afternoon announced Michael Bridges as the club captain for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season. In addition to the striker-s appointment as the team-s new on-field leader, experienced defender Ljubo Milicevic has been named vice-captain.

Bridges, 31, joined the Jets midway through last season and immediately made a positive impact, scoring six goals as the Hunter-based club marched toward their fourth Hyundai A-League Finals Series in just five seasons of the competition. The affable Englishman will now take the captain-s armband after the departure of former skipper Matt Thompson to Hyundai A-League newcomers Melbourne Heart opened the way for a new leader to be given the nod.

“It-s a great honour,” Bridges explained. “Obviously since the departure of our captain last season, we knew that there was a spot available and there were a few of the boys step forward for the honour.”

“Thankfully I-ve been given that role, it-s a great thing and I-m looking to take it on and show what we can do.”

“It-s great to have Ljubo alongside me and also we-ve got Kasey Wehrman who is another fantastic guy and a credit to this club as well,” he said.

The former Leeds United frontman is looking to use and extend his on-field leadership role in order to drive what he sees as a positive, developing club culture.

“It-s on and off the park and thankfully the boys have been brilliant since I got here. The club has been awesome, everybody has welcomed me with open arms. So it-d be nice to repay that favour and hopefully we have another season where we can make good strides forward.”

Head Coach Branko Culina stated that the European playing experience of both Bridges and Milicevic ultimately played a significant part in his decision to install them as captain and deputy for the forthcoming campaign.

“Both these guys have played at the very highest level and know what it takes to be leaders and how important it is to have quality leaders.”

“I think that we-re quite blessed that we-ve got such a group of players who are capable of being leaders but these two in particular with their experience stand out,” Culina said.

The Jets will depart for Port Macquarie tomorrow morning to prepare for their pre-season trial against Brisbane Roar on Sunday, 25 July. Kick-off for this match is scheduled for 2pm (AEST).