Jets set for Socceroos’ audition

IN-FORM Jets Dimi Petratos and Andrew Nabbout could get a chance to catch the eye of new Socceroos coach Bertvan Marwijk when Newcastle host Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
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TALENT SEARCH: Bert van Marwijk

Van Marwijk, appointed six days ago as replacement for Ange Postecoglou,is expected to arrive in this weekto start assessing A-League players he thinks are worthy of inclusion in his squad for this year’s World Cup in Russia.

A Football Federation spokesman said on Monday it was not confirmed which gamesvan Marwijk would attend this weekend, but there was “a good possibility” he would be in Newcastle.

GOALS: Dimi Petratos

If so, Petratos and Nabbout –both uncapped – are unlikely to get a better opportunity to impress the new boss than by starring against a Victory side depleted by the surprise exit of Socceroos mainstay Mark Milligan.

Petratos has been a revelation since joining Newcastle from Brisbane this season, scoring seven goals, including some long-range screamers. Former Socceroos skipper Ned Zeliclabelled him “the best player in the competition” in November and added:“You have to find a spot for him in the [national] squad if he continues to play like this.”

BOLTER: Andrew Nabbout

Nabbout has producedeight goals in 18 games and, for the second successive season, is Newcastle’s leading scorer.

While the majority of the 23-man line-up would appear settled, van Marwijk is reportedly searching for bolters with the potential to enhance the firepower of a team who, in recent years, have relied heavily on veteran Tim Cahill for goals.

New Jets signing Riley McGree might also come into contention.

McGree has joined Newcastle as a loan signing from Belgium’s Club Brugge, and he helped createa goal on debut in last week’s 2-all draw with Melbourne City.

The 19-year-old midfielder has only 18 A-League games to his name, and one goal, but he is highly rated after his performances for the n under-23s.

“When he came onto the field, he changed the game,”Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard said of McGree.

“His ability to get in between the lines and really drive at their back four, I think that will put us in good stead. Hopefully we see more of that as he integrates more into the team. It’s positive signs from him.”

Meanwhile, Irish striker Roy O’Donovan trained strongly on Monday and appears ready to return from a groin injury against Victory, which will be his first game in two months.

“He’s always hungry at training and he’s always looking dangerous,” Boogaard said of O’Donovan, who scored seven goals in his first five games for Newcastle.

“Hopefully for our sake he’s ready and raring to go, but I guess that’s up to the boss and the medical team.”

Newcastle will be hoping to capitalise after Victory agreed to grantskipper Milligan an immediate release on Sunday.The 32-year-old midfielder has signed withSaudi Arabian clubAl-Ahli in a deal that will reportedly deliver Victory a$US600,000 ($742,000) transfer fee.

Milligan was sent off in his most recent visit to Newcastle, a 4-1 hammering in round eight.

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