TEENAGER Angus Thurgate is set to be rewarded for a strong start to the pre-season with a place in the Jets midfield for the FFA Cup round-of-32 tie against Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.
Thurgate, who started in three games last A-League season, is the frontrunner to play alongside Steve Ugarkovic after Ben Kantarovski was ruled out with a groin injury.
"We are only four weeks into pre-season and there are a couple of niggling injuries and players returning from surgeries who we are not going to risk," Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane said.
Thurgate, 19, played well off the bench and scored a goal in the Jets' 2-all draw with Wanderers.
Jets coach Ernie Merrick likes his midfielders to do two things - win the ball and score goals. Thurgate can do both.
Midfield is an area where Zane believes the Jets can get on top of Victory, who still have six places to fill in a new-look squad under coach Marco Kurz.
"Marco did a great job at Adelaide in making them a very hard to beat outfit," Zane said. "They dropped deep and used their speed on the counter attack. It will be interesting to see what he does at Victory. Victory fans expect the team to control games from start to finish. A team that has a real attacking flair. It will be interesting to see how Marco goes about that because it is entirely different to his set up at Adelaide."
Victory boast a lethal front three of Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout and Ola Toivonen
"They have great players in their attacking third," Zane said. "They have a few defenders but they seem short of midfielders at the moment.
"We are probably a bit more tuned in. We have carried over from last season with the mainstay of the squad. We want to be a compact, hard-to-beat unit but we also want to have a lot of possession as well. We don't just want to sit back and counter attack. It's trying to get that balance."
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