NEWCASTLE Jets have stepped up contract negotiations with Sydney-based goalkeeper Matt Nash.
A mid-season injury replacement, Nash recorded three clean sheets in five appearances for the Jets and looked every bit an A-League keeper.
It appeared as though Nash would be squeezed out when Neil Young returned from a long illness in January.
But the 29-year-old was retained until the end of the season, and with Young yesterday agreeing to a two-year deal with Perth, Nash is set to be offered a full-time deal.
‘‘We were talking to both Neil Young and Nashy,’’ Jets coach Branko Culina said.
‘‘Youngy was looking for two years, and obviously had an offer from Perth he was mulling over for a while.
‘‘In the end, he decided to take that up and good luck to him. I wish him all the best. He deserves it.
‘‘We will talk to Nashy again over the next couple of days and see where we sit.’’
Nash commuted from North Sydney, where he has a personal training business, but Culina said to continue with the Jets he would have to move to Newcastle.
‘‘I have known Nashy for a while,’’ Culina said. ‘‘I know what he is capable of and am comfortable with him.
‘‘The thing we have to find out is if he is comfortable relocating to Newcastle and if we have the room in the salary cap to fit him in.’’
Apart from a second keeper, the Jets are in talks with Jobe Wheelhouse and are in the market for a stopper, left-back and marquee striker.
They have made an approach to Shane Smeltz but their chances of securing the Gold Coast United goal machine will hinge on a meeting between clubs and Football federation Australia on Friday where the governing body will outline the number of marquee positions available.
‘‘I think there will be quite few clubs anxiously waiting the outcome of that meeting,’’ Culina said.
Ben Kennedy, who recently inked a one-year extension, finished the season as the Jets first-choice keeper, but Culina said everyone would start from scratch next season.
‘‘Whether it be Nashy or someone else, we are not bringing in a No.2 goalkeeper,’’ Culina said.
‘‘If we want to be a top team we need two quality goalkeepers.
‘‘We are expecting BK and whoever else is there to go to the next level.’’
Meanwhile, discarded striker Sasho Petrovski is expected to return to his home town Wollongong and team up with the South Coast Wolves in the NSW Premier League.
Petrovski, 35, was the Jets leading goal scorer with six, all from the bench, but was unable to come to terms for another season.
‘‘I have an opportunity to get back involved at home in Wollongong,’’ Petrovski said.
‘‘It would be a perfect move to go back home, play for the Wolves and keep fit.
‘‘I haven’t played much anyway so at least I would be getting game time and match fitness.
‘‘If something better comes up in the A-League I’ll look at it.’’