Former Central Coast Mariners striker Roy O’Dovonan is officially a Newcastle Jet.
As revealed by the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday, the fiery front man will lead the Jets attack after signing a two-year deal on Wednesday.
O’Donovan has agreed to terms on a two-year deal and is expected to put pen to paper on Wednesday.
“Obviously the Jets are transitioning between managers and there are a lot of players out of contract, but if we can get the right type of creative players in the team then I sense that we will be able to push on,” he said. “The Jets are a good football club, a big Club that I can only see growing under the ownership of the LEDMAN Group,” O’Donovan said. “Obviously joining from Central Coast will be seen as a little bit controversial, but as a professional footballer this is the next step in my career.”
O’Donovan will join his new teammates for the start of pre-season training in late June.
Mariners coach Paul Okon didn’t want to lose O’Donovan, especially to arch rivals the Jets.
“Roy has been an important player for us this season and although it’s disappointing to see him join our closest rival, it will certainly add fire to the #F3Derby next season,” Okon said.
After a horror weekend in which the Jets collected the wooden spoon and sacked coach Mark Jones, O’Donovan’s recruitment is a major coup.
O’Donovan had offers from Brisbane and a host of international clubs. His salary will be included in the $2.9 million salary cap, leaving two marquee positions available.
O’Donovan was one of six players Jones had been in negotiations with before his axing. Talks with the other targets have been put on hold until a new coach is appointed.
The Jets conceded a record 19 unanswered goals in the final six games to slump from finals contenders to cellar dwellers.
Their tally of 28 goals for the season was better than only Adelaide (25). Wingers Andrew Nabbout (8) and Andrew Hoole (five) contributed almost half. However, the seven players who were used in the number nine and 10 positions scored seven goals. The departing Morten Nordstrand led the way with three.
O’Donovan was the Mariners’ leading goal-scorer with 11 this campaign and finished with 20 goals in 42 appearances.
As well as goals, the fiery Irishman, who played 17 Premier League games for Sunderland, will bring experience and leadership.
“We’re ecstatic that Roy and his family have chosen Newcastle over the other offers that were on the table for him both domestically and internationally,” Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said.