Newcastle Jets coach Culina searching for Wheelhouse replacement

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina admits he needs to find a midfield replacement for Jobe Wheelhouse for the next two matches.

The Jets had an appeal for Wheelhouse’s two-match suspension dismissed after he received a straight red card for violent conduct when not challenging for the ball in Wednesday’s win over Melbourne Heart.

Although the punishment is harsh, the Jets have to deal with his absence for Wednesday night’s home clash with Gold Coast United and the weekend’s trip to Wellington Phoenix and Culina has to find somebody to bring in to his line-up.

“Losing Jobe for two games stuffs us up a little bit,” Culina said.

“We don’t have as many options in midfield as we thought we might have.

“The fact we have a short turnaround and a lot of travel, we might have players, irrespective of how we come up after Wednesday, ready to freshen the team up.

“There were a couple who did well in the youth team [3-0 win over the AIS] on Saturday.

“Marcello Fiorentini was sound, that is encouraging. Kaz Patafta scored a couple of goals and I like young James Virgili.

“Away from home he could be interesting. He has speed and great stamina and might be the kind of kid you throw on and say ‘chase everything and have some fun’.”

Whoever happens to come in, they will be helping the revitalized Jets chase their seventh straight match without a loss when they host Gold Coast at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Wednesday – kick-off is at 7:00pm.

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