Song is Jets' secret weapon

Newcastle's Korean import Jin-Hyung Song is shaping up as the Jets' secret weapon when they take on K-League side Pohang Steelers in next Wednesday night's Asian Champions League Round of 16 clash in Korea.

Newcastle's Korean import Jin-Hyung Song is shaping up as the Jets' secret weapon when they take on K-League side Pohang Steelers in next Wednesday night's Asian Champions League Round of 16 clash in Korea.

Song will make his debut in this year's ACL after missing the entire competition following ankle surgery at the end of last season's A-League campaign.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond expressed his delight that the young Korean will be part of the next Wednesday's match describing his inclusion as a 'bonus'.

"I am sure the Koreans know Song as well, but as far as a player he is someone we have missed not having him in our team for this Asian Champions League so far," van Egmond said.

"It is a big bonus for the team to have someone of his ilk to be able to contribute."

Van Egmond expected he would only get about 45 minutes out of the nippy playmaker but indicated he might be a straight swap for Dutch import Donny De Groot, who is also racing to recover from a hamstring injury in time for Wednesday night's match.

"I am leaning more towards Song starting I think it is a case that he is a little bit more advanced in his recovery than Donny is," Van Egmond said.

"I think he has a better possibility. I'd be looking for half a game out of Song if that was possible. But again we will wait and see as we get over there."

"Donny is not likely to start. He is likely to come on as an impact player, considering how much training he has missed and hasn't been able to play at full tilt. Again we will assess how he progresses until game time and how much time we can decide to give him and obviously how the match pans out."

In other team news, Newcastle will be without key defenders Ljubo Milicevic (groin) and Nikolai Topor-Stanley (knee) while Jobe Wheelhouse is nearing 100 percent fitness after recovering from an appendix operation and looks set to pick up the central defender role alongside veteran Angelo Costanzo.

Italian import Fabio Vignaroli has been training well and will take his place in the run-on side after successfully nursing a chronic hamstring complaint.

The 18-man Jets squad, which leaves for Korea on Saturday, is: 20. Ben Kennedy (gk), 2. Tarek Elrich, 3. Adam D'Apuzzo, 6. Ben Kantarovski, 7. Song Jin-Hyung, 8. Matt Thompson (c), 9. Sasho Petrovski, 10. Donny De Groot, 12. Jobe Wheelhouse, 13. Shaun Ontong, 14. Angelo Costanzo, 16. Jason Hoffman, 17. Fabio Vignaroli, 18. Peter Haynes, 23. Sean Rooney, 24. Kaz Patafta, 28. Brodie Mooy, 30. Ben McNamara (gk).