Poor form has seen Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley relegated to the bench for Newcastle's New Year's Eve Hyundai A-League clash with Perth Glory at Ausgrid Stadium.
Poor form has seen Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley relegated to the bench for Newcastle's New Year's Eve Hyundai A-League clash with Perth Glory at Ausgrid Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Topor-Stanley's campaign has been hampered recently by a hamstring complaint that has seen his usual crisp defending become sluggish and he was caught out of position a number of times in last week's 5-2 loss to the Phoenix.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond has suggested that Newcastle youngster Taylor Regan will be preferred in the defensive line for this weekend's crucial home clash against the Glory.
"It is time that Taylor steps in and we need to give Nikolai a rest," van Egmond said.
"Taylor well and truly deserves his spot and has been very patient this season. He's been excellent at training, his attitude is spot-on, and whenever he's played for the team he's never let anyone down."
"Nikolai is just a little bit down on form and it is going to be a case of him working hard on the training pitch to regain his previous form."
Skipper Jobe Wheelhouse, who missed last week's match in Wellington due to suspension, is also in doubt for the game against the Glory with a foot infection.
However, the Jets midfield will be boosted by the return of veteran Kasey Wehrman, who was rested last week.
"Jobe did not respond to the initial treatment given to him and has been admitted into hospital and the infection is still not clearing up, so we'll be guided by the doc there and wait and see on that." van Egmond said.
"We rested Kasey from New Zealand on purpose, with the heavy workload happening over this period of time and into January, so he's obviously one to come back in."
Labinot Haliti also returns to the squad and will battle for a midfield starting position with Jacob Pepper and Ben Kantarovski, while Marko Jesic has also been named in a 19-man squad but isn't expected to play.
"Marko is a little bit away from making his return, at the moment he is still a little bit underdone from the injuries he has suffered and he has had a lack of game time," van Egmond said.
"He has only had one full Youth game so this weekend's game may be a little bit early for him."