Newcastle Jets boss Mark Jones is set to welcome skipper Nigel Boogaard back into his starting side for the first time since round 6 when the Club hosts Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
Boogaard’s inclusion is likely to come at the expense of young midfielder-cum-defender Johnny Koutroumbis, who has filled in gallantly in the Jets’ backline over recent weeks.
Speaking with local media prior to Thursday’s training session at the Club’s Turton Road home, Jones said it is time to welcome Boogaard back into his starting XI following his recovery from an ankle injury sustained against Melbourne City in November.
“Johnny (Koutroumbis) has done an excellent job for us and I think he has done well enough that we would like him to be involved in the future of the Club, but it is time to get our captain back,” Jones said.
“It’s a little bit difficult to leave him (Koutroumbis) out but by the same token it is nice to have Nigel (Boogaard) back.”
“It is hard to change a winning team [but] to get your captain and senior player back will help steady the ship.”
“He (Boogaard) is a good organiser and a good communicator so he will be invaluable to the team going forward.”
Jones joined the Jets from Adelaide United in September where he was involved with the Reds’ Youth and Women’s programs.
Despite the defending Hyundai A-League Champions struggling thus far in their title defence, Jones knows never to underestimate Gui Amor’s South Australian’s.
“They are a good football team,” Jones said of the 10th placed Reds. “They are obviously going through a tough patch, but they are a good football team with a good roster so they are very dangerous at all times.”
Jones also backed his men to reproduce their stunning, winning performance from last week against Perth Glory at nib Stadium in front of the Club’s Members and supporters.
“We will do the same things and play the way we did against Perth,” he said. “We have played that way in glimpses and patches throughout the whole season.”
Newcastle Jets Squad vs. Adelaide United: 2. Daniel MULLEN, 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 10. Wayne BROWN, 13. Ivan VUJICA, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 16. Nicholas COWBURN, 18. MA Leilei, 19. Morten NORDSTRAND, 20. Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22. Lachlan JACKSON, 23. Devante CLUT, 24. Kristian BRYMORA, 28. John KOUTROUMBIS, 30. Pierce CLARK (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 19. Morten NORDSTRAND (returns from injury), 22. Lachlan JACKSON (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk) (achilles - season), 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - indefinite), 9. Aleksandr KOKKO (jaw - 1 week), 23. Daniel ALESSI (knee - season)