Newcastle Jets are facing a midfield crisis on the eve of the Hyundai A-League season after Ben Kantarovski was forced to have more surgery on his knee.
Kantarovski will be out of action for at least the next three weeks after undergoing arthroscopy surgery on his troublesome right knee last Friday.
It’s the last thing Jets coach Phil Stubbins needs with his midfield stocks already depleted.
Star signing Billy Celeski is also sidelined due to groin surgery while the club lost the likes of Ruben Zadkovich (Perth), Josh Brillante (Fiorentina) and Zenon Caravella (retirement) at the end of last season.
‘‘The surgery has been a success going by the medical reports,’’ Stubbins told the Newcastle Herald of Kantarovski’s condition.
‘‘He will be out for three or four weeks. It has been a problematic situation with his knee, he had a bit of floating tissue in there.
‘‘I’m a glass-half-full type of guy. He has had his little clearout and normally that is sufficient. Hopefully he comes back bigger and stronger.’’
Defenders Taylor Regan and Jacob Pepper started in midfield in the recent scoreless draw against Central Coast Mariners and may be forced to start the Hyundai A-League season in central midfield.
Former Leicester City youth team captain Robert Paratore is currently trialing with the club while new recruit Allan Welsh are also midfield options for Stubbins.
The Jets round-out their pre-season schedule when they take on the Young Socceroos behind closed doors in Gosford on Saturday
The club start their season with an F3 derby against the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on October 11.