Jets coach Craig Deans hopes injured striker Katie Stengel can train fully on Friday and recover in time to play Melbourne City on Sunday in round six.
The Utah star rolled her ankle at training on Monday but the injury is thought to be only a sprain. Deans said Stengel, Newcastle’s leading scorer last season with 10 goals, was a chance to take on the three-time defending W-League champions at McDonald Jones Stadium.
“She did her own off-feet session yesterday and she has another one today just to keep her cardio up,” Deans said. “We have Thursday off and then she’ll hopefully train fully on Friday. If he gets through that one without any soreness on Saturday, she’ll be OK to play.”
Stengel is a key player for Newcastle, especially with fellow back-to-goal forward Tara Andrews (fractured ankle) already out injured.
“Between Katie and Tara, the plan was that at least one of them would play every game, if not two of them, like we did in the first game,” he said. “Obviously Tara’s injury changed that thinking and whatever happens to Katie, it might have to change again.
“Cortnee [Vine] didn’t play last week so she’s probably desperate to get out there and show me what’s she’s got. So if Katie is no good, then Cortnee is more than capable. She’s a different player, but maybe we just have to think a little differently with the type of service.”
He hoped to have Andrews back in full training in the next fortnight. She was unlikely to play until round nine against Adelaide.
He said moving 2016 Golden Boot Larissa Crummer from centre-back to replace Stengel was not an option.
“The commitment to her and to the national team was to work with her and give her the best chance of being a centre-back available for the World Cup, so I need to make sure I do that for her.”
Crummer was pushed forward late in the 1-0 loss to Brisbane last Thursday night but Deans said that was a one-off while chasing the game.