FRANCIS Jeffers will end his guest stint at the Newcastle Jets on the sideline against Sydney today after succumbing to a groin strain and failing to make an 11th-hour deal to extend his stay at the club.
In another blow to the Jets, the planned debut of striker Ryan Griffiths is tangled in red tape.
On the positive side, midfielder Ali Abbas is free to play today for the Jets, because visa problems have ended his dreams of playing for Iraq in the Asian Cup, which begins on Friday.
Jeffers sat out training last night and confirmed to the Newcastle Herald that he would not play the final game of his 10-match contract.
He expressed his disappointment that a new deal with the club had not been done.
"It's been three or four weeks since they've indicated that they wanted to keep me," the former Everton and Arsenal striker said.
"The fact of the matter is they haven't done anything about it and that's being open and honest.
"It's easy to say, 'Yeah, yeah, we'd like to keep someone,' but you've got to do something about it."
Jeffers is due to drive to Sydney after today's match against the Sky Blues at EnergyAustralia Stadium before flying back to England on Wednesday.
Hope had been raised that Newcastle could find a way to extend his stay but Jets coach Branko Culina said the club would not make a last-ditch offer to Jeffers.
"I don't think we'll be doing that, it's just a bit too much," Culina said.
Jeffers said he was satisfied with what he had achieved at Newcastle.
"I can be proud of the way I've played," he said last night.
"They [the fans] have been superb to me and when you're playing well fans tend to take to you.
"I've enjoyed every minute of it and I hope I can watch the lads get a result tomorrow.
"Hopefully if they get to the finals I might come back and watch the finals."
With Jeffers gone, Griffiths will become the man charged with sparking the attack.
Jets officials hope his international clearance will arrive from Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan today to enable him to make his A-League debut.
"I'm just preparing at training the way I would prepare myself for any other game," Griffiths said yesterday.
"Hopefully we find out tomorrow if I'm clear or not."
It has been six years since the 29-year-old last played for Newcastle United in the old national league and he cannot wait to follow in the footsteps of his A-League-winning brothers Joel and Adam and don the gold jersey.
"It's been three months since I last played, so the only problem I'd have is I'm not as fit as I'd usually be but in saying that, I will be sharp and will be ready to go," Griffiths said.
Last night at training veteran Sasho Petrovski played up front with Marko Jesic in a 4-4-2 formation.
But Culina said he would have no qualms in adding Griffiths to the starting line-up if he was cleared today.
"He's been training with us for a couple of weeks so he knows the drill," he said.
"I think we're all excited to see what he can add to our squad.
"He's been away from Australia for a little while and I'm sure he's learnt a fair bit overseas and has come back better for the experience."
Culina is fearful of a wounded Sydney.
"There's always danger when you play against a team that hasn't won for five weeks and hasn't scored a goal for five weeks," he said.
"Sooner or later they're going to change that around.
"We're got to be on top of our game and we're at home, so we're expected to make things happen."