Josh Mitchell, Mark Jones cross continent

COAST TO COAST: Mark Jones, left, and Josh Mitchell.

CENTRAL defender Josh Mitchell completed his return home from Perth yesterday by signing with the Newcastle Jets, while another Novocastrian in Mark Jones flew west to relaunch his stalled coaching career with the Glory.

Mitchell, 28, inked a two-year contract with the Jets after impressing coach Gary van Egmond at training and in Wednesday night’s 3-1 trial win over Northern NSW State League leaders Broadmeadow Magic at Wanderers Oval.

Mitchell had arrived at Jets training simply to lose weight and regain fitness while staying with his parents at Caves Beach.

But after the departure of No.1 centre back Nikolai Topor-Stanley on Friday, his stint at Jets training began a full-blown trial.

The Jets would not allow Mitchell to comment to the Newcastle Herald yesterday about his return to his home-town club.

The Swansea junior last played in Newcastle in the final season of the old National Soccer League in 2004 and since then has had stints with Romanian club Universitatea Craiova and the Glory.

Jones flew to Western Australia yesterday to begin work today as an assistant to Glory coach Ian Ferguson. He will oversee football technique, conditioning and video analysis.

The Novocastrian will be joined by former Glasgow Rangers defender Stuart Munro, who has re-signed as Ferguson’s senior assistant.

Jones, 46, was once anointed by former owner Con Constantine as a future Jets boss, and he has been desperate to return to coaching in the A-League since he was sacked by ex-Jets coach Branko Culina in 2010.

During the past two years Jones has coached at Malaysian Super League club Sabah with former Jets W-League coach Gary Phillips and worked for five months with former Central Coast boss Lawrie McKinna at Chinese club Chongqing Lifan FC.

In between he even worked as a site supervisor for building company GJ Gardner Homes.

‘‘I’ve always kept in contact with Fergie and when the gig came up he went in to bat for me,’’ he said.

On two occasions Jones publicly expressed his desire to return to the Jets when the youth team coaching position was vacant.

The most recent occasion was in May when Arthur Pappas left the Jets to coach the Indian under-22 team.

Jones, who was the assistant in the Jets title-winning 2007-08 campaign, remains friends with van Egmond but he never received any interest from club owners, the Hunter Sports Group.

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