Jets' woes tempting Hoolahan return

The Jets' winless A-League run stands at eight after their 2-1 defeat to the Phoenix in Wellington.
The Jets' winless A-League run stands at eight after their 2-1 defeat to the Phoenix in Wellington.

Veteran Irish midfielder Wes Hoolahan's long-awaited A-League debut could come as soon as this weekend as Newcastle try to find a spark for their season.

Hoolahan is back training with the Jets after the ankle injury suffered in an FFA Cup match which wrecked the 37-year-old's first half of the campaign.

Interim Jets coach Craig Deans admits it is a 50-50 call on whether the ex-Premier League player is ready to return, but says the bottom-placed club could use a lift ahead of Saturday's visit by Western United.

"It's an interesting one," Deans said.

"It's a risk to do it but at the situation we're in it might be a risk that's worth taking.

"I just think we need him to get through tomorrow's session which is a big one and then have a chat to him on Thursday and see how he pulls up from that.

"It might be even just a case of putting him in the squad for the matchday and have him around the team on game day. Just little things like that can give a lift to the team."

Last Friday's 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix was the club's fourth defeat on the spin and means they haven't won in their past eight matches.

Adding to the club's woes, young defender Lachlan Jackson came back from New Zealand on crutches amid fears he's suffered a long-term knee injury.

"Whether it's an ACL or something other than that, I'm not sure at the moment," Deans said, adding Jackson was set for scans on Tuesday.

"It's disappointing for Lachie because I think he's shown, especially the time Nige (captain Nigel Boogaard) has been out, that he's got the ability to play at this level and be a strong player.

"It's just one of those things in football where it's just bad luck.

"Fingers crossed it's not a major one but we won't know until he has a scan."

In other news, the Jets have signed Olyroos left-back Connor O'Toole following the 22-year-old's release by Brisbane Roar.

O'Toole, who made 31 appearances in two-and-a-half seasons at the Roar, was part of the Australian under-23 squad which secured Olympic qualification in Thailand on the weekend and joins the Jets on an 18-month deal subject to passing a medical.

Australian Associated Press