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Injured Boogaard 50-50 for Victory clash

AAP logoAAP 29/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Newcastle A-League captain Nigel Boogaard is a touch-and-go proposition to face Melbourne Victory after injuring his ankle against Wellington.

Boogaard limped off the field midway through the 2-2 Boxing Day draw, and the Jets confirmed the defensive linchpin had sustained nerve damage.

The Phoenix game was his second back after four weeks out - also with an ankle injury - coinciding with a string of other injuries to key players.

Boogaard completed his own training program on Thursday and faces a race against time to play in Geelong on Monday night.

"It's a 50-50, he's got a little bit of nerve damage," coach Mark Jones said.

"Hopefully he'll be right for the weekend, but we've coped with more than one defender out so if he's unavailable we'll deal with that.

"We're obviously looking forward to him being in the squad and helping us play out from the back, which we've been doing very well the last two or three weeks."

The fifth-placed Jets will begin the new year inside the top six for the first time since 2013/14 and are in hot pursuit of a first finals berth in seven seasons.

Yet Jones admitted their next two away assignments - against second-placed Victory and third-placed Brisbane - were difficult propositions.

Victory are particularly ominous, especially after Kevin Muscat's team swept aside Central Coast 4-1 on Wednesday night.

"They're very dangerous and we're aware of that," Jones said.

"Them and Sydney FC have probably been the two toughest teams we've played against.

"But we've got an opportunity on the counter ... they're so enthusiastic getting forward.

"They're obviously a good defensive team as well but haven't got the same defensive record as Sydney FC.

"I'd be happy if we keep more ball possession against both Melbourne and Brisbane - if we can do that we're a good chance of competing."

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