So dire are the circumstances of Newcastle’s injury crisis that the side will struggle to field a squad when they visit leaders Sydney next week, according to coach Ernie Merrick.

Speaking after Newcastle’s 2-1 loss against the Victory in Melbourne, the Jets coach was candid about the situation his club faces in pulling together 16 players to face the Sky Blues next week.

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With Nigel Boogard, Ben Kantarovski and Johnny Koutroumbis all under considerable injury clouds, it could get sticky for the Hunter Valley outfit.

“We’re just going to be very light on in numbers. Nigel might have concussion, he got elbowed in the second half and was seeing double,” Merrick said.

“I’m not sure if Ben’s going to come back with his back injury for next week, Koutroumbis has a groin concern and Ivan Vujica got his fifth yellow, so it’s going to be pretty tough playing Sydney with half a team.

“I don’t even know if we can put a team out because we lose Nick Cowburn and Riley McGree to the Under 23’s, which is not an Olympic team by the way.”

It will certainly be difficult.

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The Jets are still waiting on the returns of Ronald Vargas, Roy O’Donovan, Jack Duncan and Daniel Georgesvki as well as the new import Patito Rodriguez.

If all 11 players do miss next week, expect to see some unfamiliar teenagers grace the pitch.

It’s not an ideal situation facing a dominant and ruthless Sydney FC, but the champion coach still sees a silver lining.

“The experience the youngsters are getting will stand them in good stead when they’re coming off the bench,” the veteran coach pointed out.

“We’ll have greater depth all-round and a rock solid squad and I think that’s the first time Newcastle’s had that for a long time.

“So we’re making the most of it but it might cost us points.”

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Still seven points ahead of the Victory sitting comfortably in the second, the Jets certainly aren’t short on points.

The Jets however are staying grounded on where their side is at.

“I think we’ve overachieved for a while now. We’ve only lost two games,” Merrick stated.

“I just keep thinking that mid-February we should have everyone back and hopefully the two overseas signings we’ve made.

“We’re going to be a very much stronger team in the last third of the league and that’s a crucial time.”

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