New Roo opens up on A-League future
NEW Socceroos call-up Dimi Petratos has committed himself to the Newcastle Jets until at least the end of the A-League season.
Reports last week claimed Petratos could follow fellow star attacker Andrew Nabbout out the door to Japan this month following interest from J-League side Sagan Tosu during the country's transfer window.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna was quick to rubbish the talk and confirmed the 25-year-old, unlike Nabbout, had no release clause in his contract that would oblige the club to let him leave.
On Thursday Petratos, who is signed until 2019, pledged his services to the A-League at least until Newcastle complete their unlikely title race.
"At some stage it would be nice to go back overseas," he said.
"At the moment I've still got another year on my contract and I'll be finishing this season off at Newcastle Jets.
"There has been a little bit (of interest) but I've just left it with my agent and want to focus on where I am at the moment."
Petratos joined the Jets at the start of the season after a short stint with K-League outfit Ulsan Hyundai and quickly became one of the central forces behind the club's remarkable rise to second, notching nine goals and eight assists.
Losing him five games away from their first finals appearance in eight years would be a massive blow for coach Ernie Merrick, who is already dealing with another sudden depletion in stocks.
Nabbout (10 goals, seven assists) has just left for Urawa Red Diamonds, while skipper Nigel Boogaard's broken leg has likely spelt the end of the skipper's season.
Striker Roy O'Donovan is also suspended for the next two games, meaning young gun Joe Champness could be shifted into the role against Wellington in Auckland on Saturday.
In a timely boost, South Americans Ronald Vargas and Pato Rodriguez are set to return from injury.
It comes after Petratos and Nabbout were both rewarded for their stellar club form on Wednesday, making the final 26-man squad for friendlies against Norway and Colombia later this month.
Impress short-term coach Bert van Marwijk and the pair could be Russia-bound for the World Cup.
"It was out of nowhere but it was a very good feeling," Petratos said.
"We've got a few training sessions and two games and I'm looking forward to it.
"I'll just go out and do my best, and whatever happens, happens."