Jets coach Robinson ‘itching’ to hand Hoolahan his debut

Newcastle Jets head coach Carl Robinson cannot wait to hand marquee man Wes Hoolahan his Hyundai A-League debut and hopes next week will finally be the week.

The Jets welcome Melbourne Victory to the Hunter in Round 20 and Robinson revealed Hoolahan is ‘not far away’ and will be involved if given the all-clear from his medical department. 

The ‘Irish Messi’ is yet to make a league appearance after suffering an ankle injury in September, and the 37-year-old would no doubt be a welcome addition to Robinson’s squad.

Matt Millar’s late goal rescued a point in the Welsh chief’s first game in charge on Saturday – a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers – and Robinson insists Hoolahan will definitely pull on a Newcastle Jets jersey in the next two weeks.

“He’s itching to play, I’m itching for him to play, the players are itching for him to play, the supporters are itching for him to play,” Robinson said.

“As soon as he is ready to play, he will play. He’s not far away. 

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“If we can try and squeeze him in… I know people don’t like to give deadlines, timelines, but I’ll say I’m going to try and get him in next week if he gets the all clear.

“If he doesn’t, it’ll probably be the week after.

“So in the next 7 days or 14 days, you’ll see Wes Hoolahan and I’ll be happy with that.”

Robinson admits he is still learning about his players after the point at Bankwest Stadium lifted Newcastle ahead of F3 rivals Central Coast Mariners at the bottom of the ladder.

“If you put demands on players, players either go under or they stand up and perform,” said Robinson.

“I put demands on them this week. It wasn’t an easy week, their legs probably felt a bit heavy.

“I wanted, when they had the ball to play a certain way, and when they didn’t have the ball to play a certain way. 

“I think we did a lot of very good things without the ball, especially in the second half - counter-pressing opportunities, turning the ball over, we regained the possession which is why we had more of the ball in the second half. That’s credit to the players.”

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Western Sydney interim coach Jean-Paul de Marigny believes the Wanderers’ flashed in moments but admits the Red and Black need to apply themselves more.

“I thought we moved the ball really well, it’s just about sustaining it and doing it for longer periods,” de Marigny said.

“I thought there was a lot of positive out of the game. 

“I felt that we created some good chances, we had some great opportunities in the first half to kill them off.

“The second half we asked again for more intensity to start again, I felt we probably started a little bit slow in the second half.”

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Round 20

Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United
Friday, 21 February
Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT

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Match Centre

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 22 February
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm

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Match Centre

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