Newcastle are sweating on the recovery of midfield generals Emily Van Egmond and Tori Huster as they prepare to take on equal leaders Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
The third-placed Jets are coming off the bye and hope to get captain Van Egmond back after she missed the 2-1 away win over Adelaide in round five. Van Egmond played in Australia's two wins against China in Victoria but has since battled a lower back complaint.
Huster returned from a toe injury to take Van Egmond's place and starred against Adelaide, scoring the winner. However, Huster has been hit by a stomach bug this week and was rested, along with Van Egmond, from training on Wednesday. Coach Craig Deans was confident Huster would recover in time but was unsure about Van Egmond.
"We’ll just take it easy with her at the start of the week and just try and get her right for the game," Deans said. "Fingers crossed she’ll be OK. She’s obviously an important part of the team, but ... we had a decent performance and a good win without her last week.”
“We’re not totally reliant on her being there, but it would be nice for her to come back into the team."
He said Pana Petratos was back in full training from an ankle injury and returning Matilda Gema Simon was "still a week or two away" from overcoming a knee injury.
Simon's knee is out of a brace and she has resumed straight-line running.
Brisbane are equal leaders on 12 points, three ahead of Newcastle, and will move to top spot at the halfway point of the season with a result against the Jets at AJ Kelly Reserve.