Newcastle Jets boss Gary van Egmond will not shut the door on the possibility of bringing in one final signing to cap off his squad - but it won't be favourite son Joel Griffiths.
Newcastle Jets boss Gary van Egmond will not shut the door on the possibility of bringing in one final signing to cap off his squad - but it won't be former favourite son Joel Griffiths.
The Jets' need for a focal point in attack was underlined in their 3-1 loss to Gold Coast United on Sunday, with a number of clear goalscoring opportunities going begging throughout the 90 minutes.
With their latest recruit Francis Jeffers unavailable due to visa issues, van Egmond opted to start with Joel's brother Ryan Griffiths, Jeremy Brockie and captain Jobe Wheelhouse up front - a combination that never really got going.
Their only goal came in the second half from a set piece that missed in the box everyone bar Wheelhouse, who was unmarked at the far post and made no mistake with the finish.
That strike gave Newcastle a sniff with scores at 2-1, but their lack of firepower left them unable to rally behind the goal and Gold Coast eventually eased to victory.
The result left van Egmond in no doubt that something is missing from the squad he inherited from sacked coach Branko Culina.
"We don't have a real number nine at the club at this moment," he said.
"Young Chris Payne is still taking some time to establish himself and then we've got younger ones after that."
"We've got the group that we've got and we want to, first of all, ascertain what we have. We'll look at recruitment from there."
But van Egmond said it was highly unlikely that Griffiths, a former Johnny Warren Medalist and Hyundai A-League Golden Boot currently plying his trade with Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, would be re-joining the Hunter club.
"My mail is that he's resigning with Beijing," he said.
"Joel's a quality player so of course, to have someone like him come back to your team would be very beneficial."
"But he's in a position where he's got to look after his livelihood as well and he's looking to stay in Beijing as far as I've been informed."
"Joel's been there now for quite some time so it's probably feeling a little bit like home to him and I know he really enjoys the city."
That news would come as a blow to Jets fans, who would have been licking their lips at the prospect of reuniting Joel and Ryan, who played together at Beijing in 2009 and 2010 - but they should continue to hold out hope for a late addition to their team.
Asked if he was ruling out any other immediate moves in the transfer market, van Egmond said, with a hint of intrigue: "Not completely."