Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich said the return of A-League star Andrew Hoole on Sunday for the top-of-the-table clash with Edgeworth will be a timely boost for his depleted squad.
Zadkovich confirmed the signing of Hoole on Friday and said he had been cleared to take on the Eagles at Jack McLaughlan Oval in round 12 of the Northern NSW NPL.
Hoole, 25, started his senior football at Magic before securing a youth contract at Newcastle, where he played 50 A-League games and was their 2013-14 player of the year. He then had a season at Sydney before returning to Newcastle for one year.
He joined Central Coast in 2017 and played 46 games but his contract ran out on Friday.
The signing gives NPL leaders and defending champions Broadmeadow four former A-League players. James Virgili and Mitch Oxborrow will likely both play on Sunday, while Kristian Brymora is out injured.
Zadkovich said Hoole was a welcomed addition, especially given the loss of striker Kale Bradbery to suspension, Brymora, Justin Broadley and Jacob Dowse to injury and having captain Josh Piddington (back) in doubt.
"He played with a lot of those boys and grew up with some, so he's a Magic boy and it will be good to have one of our own come back," Zadkovich said of Hoole, whose brother Matt is also a starting player at Broadmeadow. "The boys are all excited and it will give them a lift as well."
He said Hoole's stint would help him keep fit and sharp before another potential professional deal and the signing was a "big positive for not just Magic, but the league".
The attacking midfielder has joined Magic's roster as an injury replacement for Dowse (knee), who is out for the season.
Zadkovich said Virgili, on the comeback from a hamstring strain, had trained on Thursday night and would likely take part on Sunday in some capacity.
Edgeworth, who trail Magic by a point at the halfway point of the season, lost to Broadmeadow in the 2018 grand final but thumped them 6-1 in round one this season.
Coach Damian Zane said "nothing changes for us" with the signing of Hoole.
"We've seen all the big signings in years gone by," Zane said. "Their strength was their attack anyway, so does it make them better? No. It just means one doesn't play and another one does.
"I guess Hooley will come in for Kale, who only has three goals.
"Does it upset the dynamics of their team? Who knows. On paper, things sometimes seem better than they really are."
The Eagles will be without Daniel McBreen, who is away with the Guam national side as an assistant coach. Goalkeeper Nate Cavaliere (finger) returns from injury.
Also Sunday, Valentine host Adamstown, Hamilton welcome Weston, Charlestown take on the Jets Youth and Lambton Jaffas travel to Lake Macquarie.