RONNY Vargas feels like himself again.
The Jets midfielder has full range and movement back in the left ankle he surgically reconstructed 10 months ago. The screw, which was inserted to help repair the fibula, was removed two months ago.
He is still building strength in the ankle but it is nearing 100 per cent.
“It is feeling very good,” Vargas said. “I got the screw out after the final. It is feeling much better. I need training to really feel 100 per cent but it is on the way. When I had the screw in I had a lot of restriction in the mobilisation of the ankle. Now it is out, my ankle is more free. I need more strength but it is feeling good.”
Vargas, who spent four months on the sideline, made it back on the pitch for the final stage of the campaign. Although a key figure in the Jets’ passage to the decider, where they went down 1-0 to Melbourne Victory, the Venezuelan believes he owes the club and the fans.
That mission starts against Melbourne City in the FFA Cup round of 16 at AAMI Park on Wednesday.
“I missed really the whole season last year,” Vargas said of his twenty-round absence. “I have to get revenge. I really want to do my job how I expected to when I came at the beginning of last year. I didn’t do it last year, I hope I can do this.”
Vargas was the best player on the park in the Jets’ 2-all draw against the Central Coast Mariners at Maitland on Saturday.
His touch, vision, ability to play out of tight spaces and thread passes caused havoc for the Mariners.
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“It was a good game to prepare ourselves for Melbourne City and to keep working on what the coach wants for season,” Vargas said. “From last year, you know what you did bad and good. We really know each other. We know what we have to do, what we have to improve.”
City beat Brisbane Roar 1-0 thanks to a Bruno Fornaroli wonder strike in extra-time to progress to the final 16 of the cup before a nil-all draw with Adelaide United in a friendly last week.
The Jets will be without Ban Kantarovski (strained calf) and Johnny Koutroumbis (hamstring) is also in doubt.
Dimi Petratos dropped deeper into midfield to cover for Kantarovski against the Mariners. Nick Cowburn is another option if Koutroumbis is cleared to start at right back.
“It will be a tough game,” Vargas said. “We know this already. The group and the players are working hard the last two weeks, thinking about this. We are going with a good mentality and good fitness.”
The clash will be the first time Riley McGree faces the Jets since departing for City. It was McGree’s spectacular scorpion kick goal which sparked the Jets’ 2-1 win over City in the preliminary final.
“It will be special, more for him than for us, because he was here,” Vargas said. “We really think more about what we can do. I believe if we play the game we need to do, how we train, it will be good for us, a good opportunity to get this game.”
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