Doubts over Gary van Egmond's future with Jets

SPECULATION over the future of Jets coach Gary van Egmond resurfaced last night after claims club management has approached Singapore-based former Socceroo Darren Stewart.

The Herald reported last month that the Newcastle-born Stewart, who guided Balestier Khalsa to the S League Cup this season, was among a host of coaches linked to the position as pressure increased on van Egmond following the Jets' slow start to the campaign.

High-profile player agent Tony Rallis said on Sydney radio station 2MM that Stewart had been "sounded out" four weeks ago before the Jets went on a three-game winning streak.

Stewart, a former Newcastle Breakers defender who played three games for the Socceroos, has spent the past 15 years in South East Asia as a player and then coach.

Rallis, whose clients include former Jets Nicky Carle and Tarek Elrich, then launched a stinging attack on Hunter Sports Group chief executive Troy Palmer.

"It is well known that there is no love lost between Gary and I, but tell the bloke if he is not part of your plans," Rallis said on radio show Soccer Stoppage Time, which broke the news last Wednesday that Adam Taggart had re-signed.

"Don't wait for him to fail and don't text your mates telling them who you have approached.

"It's destabilising for the coach and leaves the players questioning [what's happening]."

Rallis also claimed that Palmer was interfering with team selection and player recruitment.

Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby, who Rallis praised, did not respond to calls and text messages from the Herald last night but posted on Twitter: "There has been no approach made to any other coach".

Van Egmond is off contract at the end of the year. The Jets, who are in fifth place, have re-signed three players in the past week but are yet to clarify the coaching situation.

Van Egmond led the Jets to the 2007-08 championship during his first stint at the helm, but since his return two seasons ago they have missed the finals.

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