ZENON Caravella won't start but the industrious midfield did enough in two training sessions to convince the Jets coaching staff he can do a job against a desperate Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
Caravella signed an 18-month deal with the Jets on Wednesday after a hasty transfer from Adelaide United.
Assistant coach Craig Deans doesn't expect to see the best from his new recruit for a fortnight, but with Ruben Zadkovich suspended and captain Jobe Wheelhouse not at peak match fitness, Caravella is set to play a crucial role.
"He has not had a lot of first-team football at Adelaide, but he is naturally a fit person," Deans said.
"So far he has showed what I expected and what I saw of him at the Gold Coast and Adelaide. He is comfortable on the ball, a hard worker and confident. He brings some quality to the team.
"A central midfield position in most teams is quite similar. There are a few small variations between the way we play and Adelaide play, but for a 29-year-old it won't take much adjusting.
"It is more just getting a feel for the players around him, what certain players do and don't do, what they like.
"That should only take a week or two."
Wheelhouse, who is off contract at season's end, has played 17 minutes and one minute in his two appearances off the bench since returning from a knee injury.
"Jobe has not played 90 minutes for six weeks now," Deans said. "Both he and Zenon are ball players and comfortable on the ball. If it ends up that we play 90 minutes between them, I don't think we lose much."
Taylor Regan (calf) got through training yesterday and will come in for Josh Mitchell (suspension) alongside Connor Chapman in the heart of defence. Ryan Griffiths has also been cleared after sitting out two training runs with a sore heel.
"Taylor is fine. He got through the session no problems," Deans said. "Ryan was never a massive concern; it was more a case of making sure he did not make it any worse."
Second-choice goalkeeper Ben Kennedy has aggravated a knee problem and his place on the bench has been taken by youth team gloveman Jack Duncan.
Meanwhile, Reece Papas and Brandon Lundy are poised to make their national youth league debuts when the Jets take on the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra on Saturday.
The pair have been called up from the NSW Institute of Sport squad and will sit on the bench.
"We earmarked this game as a chance to give a couple of the younger ones an opportunity," coach Clayton Zane said.
"Reece will give us some defensive cover. Brandon can play on either wing and is a real threat going forward.
"They will basically be playing guys their own age and it will be an opportunity to see how they aim up."
AAP reports: Isaka Cernak won't cure the Phoenix's woes, but coach Ricki Herbert hopes the arrival of a new face will boost the club as they look to end a four-match losing streak.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder was scheduled to arrive in Wellington on Friday night, and Herbert said he was a good chance to start against Newcastle on Sunday.
Cernak would offer plenty of zest in a struggling midfield.
"He's technically good, he'll be a good presence in the side and he's a new face around the group," Herbert said.
"We've bought him as an attacking midfield player, so hopefully he gets himself forward and into the box.
"He's probably that little bit more creative, and creates opportunities for other players as well."
Captain Andrew Durante said Cernak was an exciting player who should add another dimension to the midfield.