Vargas back after Nabbout exit

13 March 2018 01:50:40 EST

Newcastle Jets will get marquee import Ronald Vargas back for the trip to Auckland to take on Wellington Phoenix.

The former AEK Athens player only managed three games for Ernie Merrick's side before succumbing to a broken leg against Brisbane Roar in October.

After four months out, he returned to full training on Monday and is likely to be on the bench when the second-placed Jets face the bottom club on Saturday.

His return to the side will help Newcastle offset the loss of Andrew Nabbout, who last week moved to J-League outfit Urawa Red Diamonds.

Nabbout signed off with the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over leaders and defending champions Sydney FC last time out. It was his 10th goal of the season, taking him above Dimitri Petratos to be the Jets' leading scorer.

Vargas, who has played 23 times for Venezuela and was a regular scorer at both Club Brugge and AEK Athens, will add his attacking talents to the side for the final weeks of the season and then the Finals Series.

Newcastle's injury situation is clearing up, with Argentinian winger Pato Rodriguez also likely to be involved after making an early return from a calf issue that the club expected would rule him out for a month.

Full-back Daniel Georgievski said of Nabbout: "We wish him well but at the same time, the positive is we've got Ronny back training with us full-time, Pato's back, so with a negative we have two positives."

Striker Roy O'Donovan misses the Phoenix clash as he will serve the first of a two-week suspension after being dismissed against Sydney FC. Youngster Joey Champness is expected to replace him for the game at QBE Stadium in Albany.

The Jets are 19/20 to beat Wellington, who are 11/4, with the draw 11/4.

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