‘He’s itching to play’ – Canaries legend closes on injury return in Australia

Wes Hoolahan is closing on a return to fitness Picture: Newcastle Jets

Wes Hoolahan is closing on a return to fitness Picture: Newcastle Jets - Credit: Archant

Former Norwich City midfielder Carl Robinson is hoping to finally bring Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan into his Newcastle Jets team this weekend, after a long-term injury for the Irish ace.

The 37-year-old made the move to New South Wales last year but needed an ankle operation after going off in just his second appearance, as the Jets played in the FFA Cup ahead of the new A-League season starting.

That was following a tackle which left his initial manager Ernie Merrick fuming at Hoolahan being "kicked from behind" but a change of manager followed, with former Norwich and Wales midfielder Robinson taking over.

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The Welshman had four years in charge of Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS in the USA before leaving in 2018, also playing for clubs including Wolves and Sunderland, making 54 appearances and scoring twice for City between November 2005 and January 2007.

The Jets have taken four points from Robinson's first two games and host Melbourne on Saturday, with both teams at the wrong end of the table.

"He's itching to play, I'm itching for him to play, the players are itching for him to play, the supporters are itching for him to play," Robinson said of Hoolahan, speaking to the A-League's official website.

"As soon as he is ready to play, he will play. He's not far away.

"If we can try and squeeze him in… I know people don't like to give deadlines, timelines, but I'll say I'm going to try and get him in next week if he gets the all clear.

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"If he doesn't, it'll probably be the week after. So in the next seven days or 14 days, you'll see Wes Hoolahan and I'll be happy with that."

The former Republic of Ireland international scored 54 goals in 352 appearances for Norwich between 2008 and 2018, spending a season at West Brom and going on trial at Cambridge before moving to Australia.

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