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Jets add Finnish-ing touch to squad

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/08/2016 Vince Rugari

The Newcastle Jets' search for a striker is over with Finnish forward Aleksandr Kokko signing a two-season deal with the club.

Kokko, 29, becomes the Jets' fourth visa player ahead of the new A-League season.

Kokko is a former youth international for Finland who has played for top-flight club Rovaniemen Palloseura (RoPS) since 2012, scoring 54 goals in 102 league appearances.

The Jets are yet to announce the signing but RoPS confirmed Kokko's departure on their website, quoting him as saying he was looking forward to experiencing football outside the Finnish Veikkausliiga for the first time in his career.

Kokko stands at a towering 189cm and replaces Milos Trifunovic, who fizzled as Newcastle's first-choice frontman last season.

He will play two more matches in Finland, where the league has been running since April, before linking up with the Jets and coach Scott Miller.

It is the third time this year Jets have turned to Scandinavia for players - in January, they signed Dane Morten Nordstrand, while English import Wayne Brown came to Newcastle via Finnish club SJK Seinajoki and shares the same agent as Kokko.

Kokko joins Brown, Nordstrand and Mateo Poljak as Newcastle's foreign recruits, with the fifth and final spot likely to be used on a Chinese "development" player.

He will become the second Finn to have played in the A-League, following eight-cap international striker Juho Makela, who had an underwhelming stint with Sydney FC in 2011-12.

The Jets, who crashed out of the FFA Cup in a 3-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory on Wednesday, will face Central Coast Mariners in a trial game next weekend in Tamworth.

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