Newcastle Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse will miss Saturday’s A-League derby with the Central Coast Mariners
after a training mishap.
Wheelhouse injured his knee in a training accident on Tuesday morning and faces an anxious wait for medical tests to determine the extent of the damage.
However, coach Gary van Egmond confirmed the 27-year-old defensive midfielder would not play against the Mariners.
“We will know more by Thursday. He has some movement in there in his knee so I would suggest there is no way he will be playing this weekend,” van Egmond said at a media conference on Wednesday morning.
“The initial thoughts from the physio is it is a grade two (tear) but we just have to wait and see from the scan on Thursday.
“It is just one of those things. He slid in to get the ball and as he did someone came from the other side and the ball fell close to his foot and his foot has gone and he has tweaked his knee.”
The loss of Wheelhouse compounds a squad issue for the Jets with fullback Josh Mitchell and forward Ryan Griffiths suspended.
And with first-choice defensive midfielder Ben Kantarovski still recovering from knee surgery and central defender Tiago Calvano also injured, van Egmond is forced to make wholesale changes with Josh Brilliante, Jacob Pepper and Taylor Regan likely to win call-ups.
“That is football. When it rains, it pours. The benefit is we have a good squad and good depth and some good young players coming through and it gives them an opportunity and what better opportunity than in the F3 derby,” van Egmond said.
“Josh Brillante, who came in for the last game, and Jacob Pepper, are looking like the two obvious ones that can come in to replace at this stage.
“For us it is good that we have some depth in the front third with Craig Goodwin and James Virgili. Probably Craig is a little more favoured to replace Ryan being a natural leftie.
“At the back we have the option of bringing Dom (Ritter) in but then we get a bit skinny in the fullback area, so more than likely we will go with a straight swap with Taylor (Regan).”
With Wheelhouse out van Egmond will also need to appoint a new captain.
“Come Thursday or Friday we will get to that,” he said.
“We have the likes of Ruben Zadkovich that comes into the fold, someone like Scott Neville also comes into that fold as does Dominik Ritter, Emile (Heskey) obviously, so we will have a bit more a look at it and talk to the leadership group and make that decision.”