Newcastle's English imports Francis Jeffers and Michael Bridges are both in doubt for Saturday night's match against the Melbourne Victory at Ausgrid Stadium.
Newcastle's English imports Francis Jeffers and Michael Bridges are both in doubt for Saturday night's Hyundai A-League match against the Melbourne Victory at Ausgrid Stadium.
Jeffers sat out training for most of this week with a groin injury, while Bridges, who is keen to play against good friend Harry Kewell, is still approaching match fitness after announcing his comeback four weeks ago.
"Francis is in doubt, he has a groin strain and we will make a decision on his place in the final line-up tomorrow," Jets coach Gary van Egmond said on Thursday.
"Bridgey is not in an injury situation, it is more a legs things and how many games he has played up until now."
"He played with the youth team and we got 45 minutes out of him and we rested him last week and now obviously this weekend he will get game time, whether we decide we want to use him as an impact player coming into this game against Melbourne or on Sunday against the youth."
Veteran midfielder Kasey Wehrman is also in doubt with fatigue while Matthew Nash will get another chance to stake his claim in goals after Ben Kennedy was again ruled after still suffering the effects of the concussion he sustained in the match against Brisbane.
"Ben Kennedy won't play. He still doesn't feel right. At training today he was still getting some dizzy spells so he won't be involved," said van Egmond.
"With Kasey (Wehrman) we will have a look tomorrow and see how he is feeling. He is just heavy at this moment but he felt a lot better today but on Tuesday he was pretty tired."
"Again they are professional enough to know when their bodies feel right enough to play and we will be leaning on them to make the final decision."
"I think that they have been working pretty hard up until this moment it is just a case of how they are feeling."
With Jeffers doubtful and Wehrman possibly taking a rest van Egmond has been looking at pulling Ruben Zadkovich back as a defensive midfielder while introducing attacking midfielder Ali Abbas up front in a Number 10's role with Ryan Griffiths and Jeremy Brockie on the wings.
"We just have to look at the possibilities of other combinations," said van Egmond.
"Ruben has done a really good job at playing in that forward position and we saw against Brisbane he put a nice ball through and his work rate is fantastic, but is he a Number 10? Can have someone creative in there as well? Will we look at playing Ruben in the midfield? Maybe, those are just the sort of things we need to balance."
"Ali Abbas has done quite well this week, where we have been playing him as a No.10. He has got a bit more a point of difference.
"He is good in tight areas and he can see a pass and play that killer ball as well and he can score goals, so we will just have to wait and see."