Jets look for fresh legs in attack

CHAT: Gary Van Egmond talks strategy with Tiago earlier this month at Hunter Stadium.
CHAT: Gary Van Egmond talks strategy with Tiago earlier this month at Hunter Stadium.

JETS coach Gary van Egmond has revealed he is seeking to boost the club's attacking arsenal in the transfer window, now that space has been created by central defender Tiago's move to Sydney FC.

The Australian transfer window opened on Monday and shuts on January 31.

With 11 games left in the season before the A-League semi-finals, van Egmond can see plenty of merit in adding a new dimension to his squad.

"We're definitely looking at that and seeing what the best position is for us in this back end of the season," van Egmond said yesterday.

"It opens up a visa player as well. We just have to make sure we get the right person, and we're having a look at that as we speak.

"I think it's good to give the group a lift this time of year as well. It freshens things up a bit, but also looking down the track to make sure the person is not just here for the short term but after the season for next year."

Instead of replacing Tiago with another defender, van Egmond said he was looking for an X-factor player who could add to the attack.

"Young [James] Virgili and [Craig] Goodwin have done well in the wide areas and we probably don't have too many of those type of players who go past people as much," he said.

"Someone maybe in that type of capacity who will help with the workload of the upcoming weeks."

However, the Jets' decision to release Tiago, who was initially their first-choice stopper, could backfire after home-grown defender Taylor Regan limped off the training ground on Thursday with a calf strain.

Jets medical staff believe the injury is not serious and Regan should train today before tomorrow night's game against the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

Van Egmond said he was not concerned that Regan's injury and Tiago's departure could leave him short of central defenders.

"We're quite comfortable with the back three stoppers at this moment in Taylor, Connor [Chapman] and Josh Mitchell, and obviously you have a Dom Ritter who can play central.

"[Scott] Neville can play central, [Sam] Gallaway can play central, so we have plenty of cover there."

Meanwhile, the Jets are still angry over Football Federation Australia's decision to shift their March 23 game against Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium to midweek on February 27.

The match was moved to avoid clashes with New Zealand's 2014 World Cup qualifying games against New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.

Phoenix say up to 10 of their players would have been unavailable for the Jets game due to All Whites duty, possibly resulting in a forfeit.

Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby wrote an open letter to fans yesterday explaining his disappointment, while van Egmond took aim at the Phoenix, implying they were turning themselves into merely a development squad for the All Whites.

"For Wellington to come out and say they've got up to nine or 10 [players out], and they've just signed another international Kiwi [Ian Hogg], they're trying to make [Andrew] Durante a Kiwi, and they had five in the last game against China, so that's all there was," van Egmond said.

"They knew what the rules and regs were going into the competition.

"If you're really cynical, and I'm not that type of person, but if you're really cynical, you'd actually be looking at the Wellington team and thinking to yourself it's a precursor to make sure national team New Zealand players get as much good competition as they can so they've got the best opportunity to qualify in world cups.

"But I'm not a cynical person."


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