'He's driving me nuts!' Jets boss urges caution over anxious O'Donovan

Newcastle Jets striker Roy O'Donovan is itching to return in Thursday's trip to Melbourne City but may have to wait another week as Ernie Merrick preaches caution.

The Irishman has battled groin problems for much of the season and, despite being well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a set-back in December, appears set to sit out the AAMI Park encounter.

That's if Merrick can resist the 32-year-old's pestering.

"Roy is driving me nuts. He's so keen to play this Thursday," Merrick told reporters on Monday.

"I'll speak to the physio, it will all come down to a medical decision. I don't think he’s ready until he trains very hard for a full week.

"He's scoring goals left, right and centre [in training] and running really hard, which is really great to see because he's probably six weeks ahead of where he should have been.

"It's a credit to him. I like him pushing for a position, but I'd like to see him train for a full week."

While O'Donovan may again miss out, Newcastle are set to be boosted the availability of loan recruit Riley McGree as they regroup from a last-start home defeat against Wellington Phoenix.

Riley McGree
Riley McGree is set for his first Jets appearance.

The young midfielder is in line to debut off the bench following his involvement at the AFC U23 Championship.

"He's my type of player. He's exactly what we need and he's another one capable of freshening up the team," Merrick said of the 19-year-old.

"But you have to earn your spot. I would say he will probably be on the bench this Thursday."

Fellow Australia U23 representative Nick Cowburn is also tipped to return while Joe Champness and Ben Kantarovski are in contention to start against the in-form City.