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Jets skipper Boogaard back to face Reds

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Newcastle will welcome skipper Nigel Boogaard back to their starting XI to face Adelaide, in coach Mark Jones' only change from the A-League side that shocked Perth.

Boogaard's ahead-of-schedule return from an ankle injury is a timely boost for the Jets, who are high on confidence following last weekend's impressive 2-1 win and can squeeze into the top six with another.

The 30-year-old, who sat on the bench against the Glory, replaces 18-year-old utility Johnny Koutroumbis in central defence against a last-placed Reds outfit reeling from a 4-0 trouncing by Brisbane.

"Johnny has done an excellent job for us, and well enough that we'd like him involved in the future of the club, but it's time to get our captain back," Jones said.

"Last weekend we still put in a good performance without Boogs, but to get your captain and senior player back will help steady the ship."

Jones will make no further alterations in acknowledgement "it's hard to change a winning team" that snapped a seven-match drought.

In more positive news, Danish attacker Morten Nordstrand will return from a hip flexor issue to sit on the bench.

And with Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko due back next week following jaw surgery there's light at the end of the tunnel for the injury-devastated Jets, though Ben Kantarovski (knee) remains sidelined indefinitely.

"We've nearly got a full roster for the weekend, and the following week we'll have a full roster, so that adds competition for places," Jones said.

"We've always thought we could get into the top six, we just needed to get all our players back.

"If we get there this week that'd be nice."

Jones reiterated his desire to bolster his squad by bringing in at least two players in the January transfer window, with Mark Bridge and Shane Smeltz already on his wishlist.

He hopes to clear another spot on the roster after recently letting go of young forward Radovan Pavicevic.

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Adelaide are undefeated in their last six games against the Jets

* Only once since the beginning of 2013 have the Reds left Newcastle with three points

* Andrew Hoole has created 31 chances this season, five more than any other player and 19 more than any Adelaide player (Isaias, 12)

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