HOME-GROWN utility Nick Cowburn is poised to sign a new one-year deal with Newcastle and reborn winger Jason Hoffman is close to finalising a contract extension as the finals-bound Jets work to shore up their roster.
Cowburn has made just five appearances this season off the bench but the 22-year-old’s form with the Australian under-23s and at training has been enough to convince Ernie Merrick of his retention.
Hoffman, who played off the bench in the Jets’ 2008 grand final victory, has been a revelation this campaign. The-29-year-old has switched between right back and right wing, where he has scored four goals.
Wellington have also expressed an interest in the 175-game veteran but the Herald understands the new dad’s preference is to stay in Newcastle and be a part of the Jets’ renaissance.
Teenagers Angus Thurgate, who made his A-League debut in round 16, and Pat Langlois have signed scholarships for next season.
Talks are progressing with captain Nigel Boogaard, who indicated last month that he was not in a hurry to finalise his future.
“For me it’s not important at the moment,” Boogaard said at the time. “We’ll see how that eventuates, but at the moment, I’m just concentrating on making sure I can keep my level of performance each week.”
Marquee Ronny Vargas, who is due to return from a serious ankle injury next month, fellow import Pato Rodriguez and fringe players Kosta Petratos and Daniel Alessi are also off contract.
The Jets, who didn’t play on the first weekend of the split round, can move seven points clear of third-placed Melbourne City with a win over Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Friday night.