Jets star set for incredible return from cancer
Newcastle Jets defender John Koutroumbis is poised to make his first A-League appearance since last season's grand final after overcoming a cancer scare.
Coach Ernie Merrick says the 20-year-old completed 60 minutes of an intra-club match over the weekend and is being considered to play in this Sunday's fixture against Melbourne City, probably off the bench.
It would come six weeks after undergoing surgery following a diagnosis of stage one thyroid cancer.
Koutroumbis has undergone further treatment but is deemed fit enough to return soon for last year's runners-up.
Merrick says the right back's return is timely given uncertainty surrounding the fitness of defender Daniel Georgievski, who suffered a groin injury during their 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers..
Brazilian forward Jair, who like Georgievski has started every game, is also in doubt with a hip flexor injury.
His absence could be countered by news that forward Kosta Petratos and midfielder Matt Ridenton are nearing returns.
Merrick is anxious that Friday's first win of the season doesn't take the edge off his seventh-placed outfit against a quality City side who are coming off a surprise 2-0 loss to Brisbane.
"I hope one win doesn't take the pressure off because I want the pressure to be on all the time, albeit the pressure to perform," he said.
"There's no doubt you get a spring in your step when you win, especially when you have to do it tough." Wanderers created more good chances than the Jets, which Merrick said was a reversal of the first four rounds when he felt his team had enjoyed the better of proceedings.
"I don't know what 'turned the corner' means. I just feel that we've been playing good football," he said.
"We've been creating opportunities but we haven't been putting them away. The game went the other way on this occasion."