NEWCASTLE Jets football operations manager Joel Griffiths hopes Devante Clut finds another gig in the A-League.
The 22-year-old parted ways with the Jets by mutual termination on Friday and is understood to be close to finalising a deal with NSW Premier League club Blacktown City.
Off contract, Clut had played 64 minutes in five appearances this campaign and had not been offered a deal for next season.
With mid-season signing of Pato Rodriguez and Riley McGree, and the imminent return of Ronny Vargas, opportunities for the diminutive playmaker were likely to dry up further.
The NSW Premier League kicks off on March 9, and rather than train at the Jets he has a chance to play regularly and put himself in the shop window for other A-League clubs.
“Devante has been excellent to work with this season, he’s a hard worker and has been a great presence around the group,” Jets coach Ernie Merrick said.
“It’s been difficult for him to get game time in the first team, given the strength of our squad this season and his decision to search for playing time elsewhere is one that I support. I wish him all the best with the next chapter in his career.”
Griffiths believes Clut needs “to play” and would not be surprised if the former Olyroo is back in the A-League sooner than later
“Sometimes in football you have to go backwards to go forward again,” Griffiths said. “I think that is the case with Devante.
“At another A-League club he probably might have got a little bit more time. With the quality we have, especially in the front third, he found it tough to get game time. I just feel that Devante needs to play and he will get a chance to get some confidence back in the NPL.”
Signed from the Brisbane Roar by then coach Scott Miller, Clut made his debut for the Jets under Mark Jones in round one last year.
“I’ve learnt a lot from the many players I’ve had the chance to play with, helping me grow as a footballer and a person,” Clut said in a statement. “It’s been an amazing place to call home and it’s been an honour to represent the club, the city and the fans.”