Merrick to go window shopping after O’Donovan blow

Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick has confirmed the club will look to the January transfer window for attacking reinforcements following a horror run with injuries.

Following a long-term ankle injury to marquee Ronny Vargas earlier in the season, star striker Roy O’Donovan will spend up to three months on the sidelines with a groin complaint.

The Irishman suffered the injury in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Perth Glory, with the club confirming on Tuesday that their leading scorer had suffered a grade three tear in his groin.

While Andrew Nabbout has deputised admirably up front in O’Donovan’s absence, Newcastle are effectively playing without a recognised striker.

Merrick confirmed Newcastle are chasing two attackers to bolster the squad, though an out-and-out number nine was not necessarily at the top of their wish list.

“I’ll take any high-quality striker rather than identify specifically a number nine,” Merrick told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think Andrew can play that role really well.

“But if a number nine becomes available, then yes we’d look at him. But if it’s another type of attacking player then that would be fine.

“It’s the quality that we’re looking for rather than worrying about the position.”

With two foreign spots available on the club’s roster, Merrick indicated any reinforcements in the front third will come from overseas.

Roy O'Donovan
Roy O'Donovan has been ruled out for up to three months for the Jets.

And the Scotsman admitted players with an eye for goal would be the priority.

“There’s no reason why we have to fix any particular formation. You’ll have seen the top teams in the world, it’s hard to pick where they play nowadays,” Merrick said.

“All I’ve said is, anyone who plays up front whether it’s on the left side, right side, centrally, high or a number 10 – all four have got to be goalscorers and that’s the type of player we’ll look for.”

While Caltex Socceroos legend Tim Cahill is available after leaving Melbourne City, Merrick all but ruled out a play for Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“Tim will probably go overseas I would think. Tim’s a very good player. He’s not the type of player we actually want in our side.

“He’s an excellent player. He’ll have no trouble finding a club.”