For two clubs with so much intertwined history, it’s remarkable that Wednesday night will be the first-ever competitive encounter between a top-tier Newcastle side and the Edgeworth Eagles.
There’s just under 13km between the Jets home of McDonald Jones Stadium and Edgeworth’s Jack McLaughlan Oval – the location for the FFA Cup Round of 16 blockbuster.
Players such as Jim and Daniel McBreen, Troy Halpin, Mark and Gary Wilson, Andy Roberts, Glenn Moore, and countless others wore both Newcastle and Edgeworth kits in their playing days.
A number of those in the Jets ranks grew up in the Hunter playing against various Edgeworth sides, with local boys like Jason Hoffman and Pat Langlois fully aware of the challenge that a locally-dominant Eagles will pose.
They’re a side right in the mix for the NPL Northern NSW premiership – should results go their way on the weekend, Edgeworth would secure their fifth successive title.
But for them and for coach, Damian Zane (cousin of Jets assistant, Clayton), the focus is sure to be wholly and solely on what is sure to be a packed-out Jack McLaughlan Oval this Wednesday night.
A competitive debut beckons for Wes Hoolahan against the Eagles, with the former Irish international set to take to the pitch for the Jets at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
If Ernie Merrick’s starting XI against Hamilton Olympic in last Thursday night’s friendly is anything to go by, it may also mean a starting debut for both Abdiel Arroyo and Pat Langlois.
The Panamanian number 9 started and scored against Olympic following his debut off the bench against Victory, while Langlois scored his first-ever Jets goal in the Round of 32 win.
There are a number of early injuries amongst the Jets ranks with a trio of centre backs – Nigel Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, and Lachlan Jackson – all ruled out.
Glen Moss remains sidelined with a slight foot injury which means Lewis Italiano is expected to start between the sticks, and Ben Kantarovski is likely to miss out as he returns from a groin strain.
From the playmaker
"Arroyo doesn't speak much English but he understands football so it works perfect," Jets number 10, Dimi Petratos said.
"We are getting a good understanding with each other. They won't know much about him, he's super fast. You can play the ball a little bit harder and he will still get there, we'll try and get him in behind and use him to our advantage.
"It will be a tough game, a good game. They [Edgeworth] have a good squad, we just have to be patient.
"Teams have played with five at the back against us before. We have been working on how to break it down and get the combinations going."
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