The next two weeks is likely to determine the future of striker Roy O’Donovan at the Newcastle Jets.
Ahead of the Jets’ final match of 2018/19, against Sydney FC on Saturday, the future of the Irishman is one of the hot topics in the Hunter.
Despite missing the first eight games of the season, O’Donovan is the Jets’ leading scoring with 11 goals from 18 appearances, including a double in the 6-1 drubbing of Brisbane Roar on Saturday.
The 33-year-old remains unsigned for next season and is sure to have plenty of clubs – in the Hyundai A-League and abroad – vying for his services.
The former Sunderland, Coventry City and Central Coast Mariners player said earlier this month he is hopeful of remaining with the Jets beyond this season.
But heading into the club’s final game of the campaign, a new deal has yet to be finalised.
“We have to find out soon, in the next two weeks [whether or not O’Donovan is staying],” Jets boss Ernie Merrick said on Tuesday.
“We’ll be training for another two weeks and the players will break up on the 10th May.
We’ve never questioned the fact that we want to re-sign Roy, it’s just a case of getting him pinned down - and he keeps scoring goals.
“Nothing’s been resolved yet.”
The Jets rebuild has begun
O’Donovan was part of a sensational team performance in Round 26, as the youthful Jets ran riot over a hapless Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
The likes of youngsters Joey Champness and Angus Thurgate were sensational, while Merrick also handed Hyundai A-League debuts to Jack Simmons and Patrick Langlois.
“That was the start of the rebuild,” the coach said.
“I didn’t want to play too many youngsters against Perth away from home [in the previous match]. [They are a] top team, that can destroy confidence rather than build it. So to me it was a good start to the rebuild.
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“I’ll be bringing more senior players into the Sydney game. But there’ll still be some youngsters in there.
“Gus [Thurgate] and Joey [Champness], Ivan [Vujica] and Johnny [Koutroumbis] will still be starting.”
The Jets have won just one of their last 18 games against the Sky Blues in the Hyundai A-League.