RETURNING Newcastle Jets women’s coach Wayne O’Sullivan wants former captain Hayley Crawford back for the next W-League season.
Crawford quit the Jets before kick-off last season, saying at the time that ‘‘some things happened that I wasn’t comfortable with’’.
Last year’s coach, Clayton Zane, has since become the Jets youth team coach and Hunter Sports Group has handed responsibility of the W-League team back to Northern NSW Football.
On Tuesday, O’Sullivan was reappointed coach and Peter McGuinness as assistant.
Crawford and O’Sullivan have a close professional relationship and have been working together as coaches of the NSW Institute of Sport under-18 girls program.
‘‘I haven’t actually had that one-on-one conversation with her as she’s been in the role of coach, but I think there’s a burning desire for Hayley,’’ O’Sullivan said when asked if Crawford would return.
‘‘She’s certainly not finished, a long way from it.
‘‘I would be very surprised if she didn’t want to play.’’
O’Sullivan said he would campaign for the 28-year-old former Matildas central defender to return.
‘‘Hayley is first and foremost a fabulous person and from a professional perspective she is potentially the best professional I’ve worked with, even though she hasn’t really ever been a professional footballer, which is a testimony to her,’’ he said.
‘‘She’s a great player and an incredible leader, so I have the utmost respect for her.’’
Crawford has been a part of a core group of players training with O’Sullivan.
Jets Madeline Searl, Hannah Brewer, Bronte Bates, Gemma Pearce, Kate Hensman and Tara Andrews have also taken part in the sessions.
In his previous stint as Jets coach O’Sullivan led an inexperienced side to the wooden spoon in 2009-10 and second last in 2010-11.
O’Sullivan said he would meet with NNSWF to map out a plan for 2012-13.
‘‘There’s no doubt about there will be an improvement, as there already is on many levels, and it depends on how you want to judge that,’’ he said. ‘‘If you want to judge it on win, lose and draw, then we’ll make those decisions later.’’