Newcastle preparing to unleash Joel, Jade

JETS big guns Joel Griffiths and Jade North are expected to make their first appearance in Newcastle colours this season in a trial against the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

A combination of injuries and Socceroos commitments have meant the pair have not been available for the A-League champions' previous three trials against the Mariners, a Northern NSW State League representative side and Broadmeadow Magic.

Saturday's trial in Canberra will be the Jets' last chance to field their best possible squad before their first pre-season match against Perth Glory on July 19 in Mandurah.

Jets assistant coach Mark Jones said the duo would be a huge boost to the side.

"The more games we get with the full squad is helpful, considering the amount of disruptions we had because of national team commitments a good thing and a bad thing really," Jones said.

Griffiths began light training with the Jets last week after problems with his troublesome ankle, while North has struggled with a knee injury. Jones said both were making inroads with their fitness.

"Joel is back at training. He trained today twice and then he'll train two times tomorrow he's looking OK," Jones said last night.

"It's Gary's [coach Gary van Egmond] choice, but I'm sure if he's right, he'll play.

"Jade joined in towards the end of the session today.

"Jade knows his body better than us, but hopefully he doesn't pull up too sore.

"If he trains for the rest of the week, it would be good to have him back on board."

The Jets will be looking to improve on Thursday's shock 2-1 loss to Northern NSW State League side Broadmeadow Magic.

Jones said even though the club were not concerned about the result, they expected a far better performance against arch rivals the Mariners with the Pre-Season Cup only a week away.

"Obviously no one likes to lose, but it certainly wasn't life or death," he said of the Magic match.

"It was an opportunity to trial people in different positions and see how they went. Obviously the motivation of all the players increases as the other boys come back.

"The likes of Joel and Jade will raise the spirits of the boys, and we'll have a better pitch and be in full daylight."

Meanwhile, the Jets have announced the signing of former Melbourne Victory defender Antun Kovacic.

The Jets are also hopeful of getting an answer in the next 24 to 48 hours from the Football Federation Australia regarding the signing of Andre Gumprecht on an injury waiver for Shaun Ontong.

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