In a positive boost for the Newcastle Jets, skilled campaigner Ali Abbas will link up with the A-League club for the 2020-21 season.
And, the midfielder has been named in the Hunter outfit’s starting squad for tonight’s round one New Year’s Eve encounter against the Central Coast Mariners at Central Coast Stadium.
The Thursday 31 December F3 derby kicks off from 7.05pm.
Abbas, 34, returns to the Jets after previous stints with Sydney, Pohang and Wellington.
The gifted midfielder boasts an abundance of experience to the club with 138 A-League appearances over an 11-year period.
The former Iraqi International was delighted to continue his Australian football journey at Newcastle where his career started.
“I’m very happy and excited to be back in Newy,” Abbas told @newcastlejetsfc
“It’s been a long road for me and I’ve been waiting for my opportunity.
“I’m just extremely happy to be here with the boys.
“I’d really like to thank Deansy, the coaches and the club for this opportunity and taking a chance on me, I really, really appreciate it.”
Coach Craig Deans believes Abbas is a perfect fit for the Jets and the playing group with his experience and versatility a big bonus.
“We are happy to have Ali back,” he said.
“He’s obviously very versatile, he can play in two or three different positions.
“He’s a good person, a hard worker and he fits in with the group very well.
“Ali has been here before, he knows the club, the town and that’s important, too.
“I look forward to seeing him get on the pitch in Jets colours.”
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 3.Lewis MILLER, 4.Joshua NISBET, 5.Stefan NIGTRO, 6.Gianni STENSNESS, 8.Oliver BOZANIC (c), 10.Daniel DeSILVA, 11.Jack CLISBY, 14.Daniel BOUMAN, 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Adam PEARCE (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 23.Dan HALL, 25.Matthew HATCH, 26.Jaden CASELLA, 29.Alou KUOL, 30.Jordan SMYLIE, 31.Damian TSEKENIS, 32.Max BALARD **2-4 to be omitted**
Unavailable: 7.Stefan JANKOVIC (quarantine), 12.Marcos URENA (quarantine), 22.Michal JANOTA (quarantine)
Newcastle Jets: 1.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Ramy NAJJARINE , 13.Maki PETRATOS, 14.Ali ABBAS, 15.Tete YENGI, 16.Matt MILLAR, 18.Jack ARMSON, 17.Valentino YUEL, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 25.Jack SIMMONS, 26.Archie GOODWIN, 27.Lucas MAURAGIS, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY **2-4 to be omitted**
Unavailable: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspension – 1 week), 2.John KOUTROUMBIS (ankle – 2 weeks), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (calf – 2 weeks)