Newcastle Jets will receive a massive boost to their playing stocks with the much-anticipated arrival of former AEK Athens winger Patricio Rodriguez on Wednesday.
Rodriguez, 27, is an injury replacement Ronald Vargas and should be ready to hit the pitch for selection in next week’s F3 Derby.
The injury-hit Jets are missing five starting XI outfield players, forcing coach Ernie Merrick to question the club’s ability to field a team against Sydney FC on Wednesday.
Jets football operations manager Joel Griffiths told The Newcastle Herald: “(Rodriguez) is on a flight from Buenos Aires and arrives here Wednesday morning.
“Our aim is to get him settled and bring out his family as quickly as possible.”
Griffiths added: “He will have a week of training before the Mariners game.
“He is relatively fit. He left AEK in December and has been working with a personal training. It will depend what Ernie sees at training as to whether he starts or comes off the bench.”
Rodriguez graduated from the youth system at Independiente, going onto make 96 appearances for the first team before joining Brazilian Serie A outfit, Santos.
At AEK Athens, Rodriguez was a teammate of the man he will be replacing at the Jets, Vargas, who was sidelined earlier this season after dislocating and fracturing his ankle.
Merrick has spoken glowingly of Rodriguez..
"He's a very good one-on-one dribbling type player that knocks in great crosses, he’s technically very strong and has great speed," Merrick said last month.
“He’s a wonderful striker of the ball and will add a great deal to our front third. He’s got all the characteristics of an Argentinian player, he’s strong, resilient and knows how to win a game – he’s a wonderful addition to our squad.”
Rodriguez has been contracted until the end of the 2017/18 season.