Hitches no hindrance for Jets

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond believes his side is well-prepared to take on J-League powerhouse Nagoya Grampus in next Tuesday night's Asian Champions League fixture despite some disruption in the past week.

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond believes his side is well-prepared to take on J-League powerhouse Nagoya Grampus in next Tuesday night's Asian Champions League fixture despite some disruption in the past week.

Central defender Ljubo Milicevic has been absent from the Jets preparation for most of the past week due to a funeral and other personal commitments in Melbourne, while key playmaker Fabio Vignaroli is unlikely to play in the away fixture after picking up a slight tear in his hamstring during training on Tuesday.

In addition midfielder Adam Griffiths sat out training with a recurring calf injury and forward Marko Jesic, who has just returned from a knee injury, was in ice after training.

"The disruptions are a lot more minor than ones we have had before, especially in comparison to last season," said van Egmond.

"If we look at if from the surface, we still have (Jin-Hyung) Song out as well as (Jason) Hoffman and possibly Fabio and they are all front-third players who would be close to first team players."

"But our depth now is a lot better. (Sean) Rooney got through training which is positive and Marko (Jesic) is back with the icing just precautionary for his knee."

"So we are not relying on the really young boys which we had to do during the season. The players we have coming into those positions are more experienced now as well."

However, the Newcastle head coach did concede his side would be severely depleted in Vignaroli was ruled out.

"You always want to ensure you have your best players on deck and we'd be lying to say if Fabio wasn't to play that we'd have someone of equal ability to fill in," van Egmond said.

"He is a wonderful player and obviously extremely effective in linking up between the midfield and the front third. But that gives someone else an opportunity and with that they can take it with both hands and really go on with it."

"Vignaroli hasn't trained today (Thursday) but we will a have a look at him again tomorrow but it is going to be a difficult one for him. We played in a game on Tuesday and he felt a twinge in his hamstring and he stopped pretty much straight away."

"There is a slight tear that is bordering on grade one, so the travel doesn't help in regards to any type of injury and we will see. But we won't be taking any risk with him because we have two home games against Nagoya and Beijing coming up and it will be fairly imperative that we get maximum points from them, so we will need our best team our for those two games."

Van Egmond also brushed off any suggestions Milicevic was causing problems within the team after a disagreement between the big defender and the coaching staff during training last week before he left for Melbourne.

"His attitude has been excellent this morning and he is looking forward to going over to Japan and us getting a result," said van Egmond.

"He's very important for us and all the players know that and his organisational skills as a central defender is a huge bonus for the team to have."

"He is crucial and the players know that and to my way of thinking the whole incident was a storm in a tea cup which was trivialised through the media."

"So for me and the team including Ljubo all we are looking forward to is being our most cohesive and fluent over in Nagoya and getting a result."

Newcastle will depart for Japan on Saturday and go into camp in Nagoya prior to the match on Tuesday night.