Andrew Nabbout's expected departure from Newcastle Jets won't undermine their title challenge, insists coach Ernie Merrick.
Star forward Nabbout is set to move to Japan after the Jets received an offer for him, believed to have come from reigning Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds.
If he happens to go in that window we would wish him all the best.Ernie Merrick
The transfer window is still open in Japan and if the club pay around $500,000 it will trigger a release clause in Nabbout's contract.
Merrick has given the forward, who scored the winner as they beat league leaders Sydney FC 2-1 on Saturday, his blessing to depart.
He's been a big part of the Jets' success this season, with 10 goals and seven assists, and put himself in line for a Socceroos call-up.
Speaking of the 25-year-old, Merrick said: "If he happens to go in that window we would wish him all the best, he's been a great servant to this club.
"He delivered last year as well, and if it's an opportunity for him to go to a bigger team in another country we would certainly wish him all the best. We feel we can cover that spot."
Newcastle's attacking stocks are set to be further depleted as they will lose Roy O'Donovan to suspension after he was sent off against the Sky Blues.
But Merrick is confident that, with Ronny Vargas and Pato Rodriguez set to return from injuries, the side can cope.
The Jets coach said O'Donovan had insisted he hadn't deliberately struck Sydney FC defender Jordy Buijs in the incident that saw him red-carded.
Speaking of the reaction of the Dutchman, who fell dramatically to the turf, Merrick added: "It was quite a performance the centre-back put on ... pretty disappointing actually."
Meanwhile, Perth Glory take on Central Coast Mariners next weekend. Glory are 11/10 for the win with Mariners 9/4 and the draw is priced at 13/5.
Glory are 10/1 to win the game 1-0.
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