Ugarkovic: Competition a good headache for Deans


Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans has plenty to consider when it comes to naming his squad this weekend.

The Jets are scheduled to head to Melbourne where they will face Victory on Sunday.

With the likes of Jason Hoffman (groin) and Ramy Najjarine (ankle), expected to be back to full health, the boss has plenty to consider.



Throw in Matt Millar has several training sessions to his name since exiting hotel quarantine and the fact the A-League transfer window is now open and there’s plenty to think about.

With the window open, new recruits Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, Liridon Krasniqi and Syahrian Abimanyu are available for selection too.

The latter two join the Jets this week following hotel quarantine, while Stamatelopoulos has already spent several weeks training with the side.

According to veteran Jet Steven Ugarkovic, the competition for spots in the squad is a blessing.



“That’s why he got the job, to make those decisions,” Ugarkovic said of Deans’ selection headache.

“He will put the best team out there and the boys have to react from that and whether they’re playing or not, they have to perform.

“Just because you’re not in the team doesn’t mean you pull up a handbrake and sulk about it.

“you’ve got to put your head down and get back in the team. And it’s good to have those selection problems because they’re all quality players and we’ve got quality players on the bench.

“Depth is good, so it’s a good problem to have.”

Having made his A-League debut for the Jets in 2016, the former Olyroo has played over 120 A-League matches, but this weekend marks his 100th consecutive match for the Jets.

The Club’s ironman, Ugarkovic averages around 12 kilometres per game, yet despite being one of the Jets’ most active players, he’s shown his sustainability.

Asked what his secret was, the 26-year-old said; “Just getting on the field each week. Doing the little things right through the week, so I’m fit and ready to go.

“These last six months have been hard with the body having little problems (but) doing the right things off the field to be prepared and being able to put myself in a position to play each (helps).”