Jets defender Daniel Georgievski has put his hand up for selection in Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown with reigning champions Sydney FC.
The 29-year-old has been sidelined with a grade-one hamstring injury for two weeks and will be assessed by Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick again at training on Wednesday before a final decision is made about his potential inclusion.
It may be the sole change for the undefeated A-League leaders with no complaints out of their come-from-behind 2-1 victory away against Adelaide in round six.
“Everyone pulled up really well and the other benefit is that Daniel Georgievski has put his hand up for this weekend,” Merrick said.
“Whether he’s ready to play or not, I’ll assess him over the week, but he’s trained virtually every day except one the last two weeks. He trained hard today and he will train hard tomorrow.”
Jason Hoffman has been starting at right back with Georgievski out and Ivan Vujica on the left, but Merrick knows this move will increase competition for spots.
“I think Jason Hoffman has done a very good job, but it gives me the opportunity to make them all compete for a position and that’s the ideal situation,” Merrick said.
“It also gives you good strength off the bench and other people game time.”
Glen Moss probably won’t return in time from international duties with New Zealand in Peru on Thursday (AEST) to resume his place on the Jets’ bench as reserve goalkeeper.
Newcastle face their biggest test yet of 2017-2018, travelling to Allianz Stadium to meet the Sky Blues fresh from loss number one of this campaign.
But taking on next week’s FFA Cup finalists, on the same night Sydney mark Alex Brosque breaking a club record for A-League appearances with 179, doesn’t change anything for last season’s wooden spooners according to Merrick.
"I try not to place that much emphasis on one game," he said.
“Do you change? The worse thing you can do is change. The best thing to do is keep playing the way we’ve been playing all the way through pre-season.”
Kick-off is 7:50pm.