Coming off the back of Newcastle Jets’ biggest win in years against Sydney FC in front of more than 18,000 fans the side has suffered the loss of three hugely important players as they ready themselves for finals football.

Roy O’Donovan has been handed a two match suspension from the Match Review Panel following Saturday’s sending off for a slap on Sydney defender Jordy Buijs.

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Ernie Merrick confirmed on Tuesday morning that the club will holding a meeting to discussion options as to whether they will choose to appeal the suspension for their star striker given the controversy surrounding the incident on Saturday evening.

In perhaps the most devastating news for Jets fans the club confirmed on Monday the immediate departure of superstar Andrew Nabbout to Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds with his long-range wondergoal on Saturday proving a fitting farewell for the 25-year-old.

Nabbout has been the natural replacement at striker in the absence of O’Donovan so his departure undoubtedly causes a selection headache for Merrick.

“I don’t tinker and I don’t experiment. We’ve known since pre-season who’s available to play where and who’s more versatile than others,” he said.

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“Joe Champness is playing really well and is probably due for a start. There’s also Kosta Petratos as well as potentially moving an attacking midfielder forward or we can go with a younger option like Angus Thurgate.”

As if it couldn’t get any worse for the second placed side Merrick also confirmed the extent of the injury to captain Nigel Boogaard sustained towards the end of the Sydney game which will almost definitely rule him out for the remainder of the season.

“Because he hyperextended his knee he has a major compression fracture on his tibia and on top of that he has also torn his calf muscle,” Merrick said.

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“It’s a six to ten week injury. It’s unlikely but there’s a very small chance he could play in the finals but the good news is he doesn’t have to have an operation and can go straight into rehabilitation.”

In more positive news for Jets fans Merrick confirmed the imminent return of Newcastle’s superstar South-American duo of Patricio Rodriguez and Ronny Vargas who are in the fold to take part in the club’s next fixture against Wellington Phoenix in just under two week’s time.

“Pato is very fit and is available to start if we want him to. Ronny will be on the bench for sure and the amount of game time he’s available for will be decided closer to the game,” Merrick said.

 

Feature image credit: Sproule Sports Focus

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan