A week after scoring the match-winner in the FFA Cup, Pat Langlois will be deployed as makeshift centre-back for an injury-hit Newcastle Jets in a friendly against Hamilton Olympic at Darling Street Oval on Thursday night.
Langlois will be joined by Johnny Koutroubus in the heart of defence, with a view to the youngsters teaming up at the back against Edgeworth in the FFA Cup round of 16 derby at Jack McLaughlan Oval next Wednesday.
Left-sided stopper Lachlan Jackson joined the casualty list on Tuesday when he tore his calf after a tangle with Jason Hoffman at training.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley is also being hindered by a calf injury, Ben Kantarovski has a groin issue and captain Nigel Boogaard is still working his way back to full fitness after off-season knee surgery.
All should be fit if the Jets progress to the quarter-final of the nation-wide knockout.
"I think we have more than enough players to cover it," coach Ernie Merrick said. "I like to see how flexible players can be. You always have injuries. You want to see who can play in different positions in defence, midfield and up front. I use pre-season to get an idea of whether they can cope with it or not."
Langlois played predominantly in defence for the youth league team last season, but has been pushed forward into midfield during the NPL campaign. He and Koutroumbis both trained at the back on Wednesday.
"We will be right," Merrick said. "We are a very strong side, especially given our strikers are doing so well. We have played two friendlies and an FFA Cup game and we have won two and drawn one and come from behind twice, so our fitness levels are high."
Merrick confirmed that Abdiel Arroyo and Matt Ridenton would start against Olympic after impressing off the the bench in the 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory in extra-time a week ago.
"I thought Arroyo and Matt Ridenton changed the game against Victory when they came on," he said. "Matt really strengthened the midfield and Arroyo caused lots of problems up front."
New arrival Wes Hoolahan will also be involved.
"He has come in fitter than we expected," Merrick said. "His touch is still there, and you can see he has been a top-class player in the Premier League for a long time. I was a bit worried about signing a 37 year old, but having seen him, he is really fit and will be a great addition to the squad."
Merrick said games against local teams were worthwhile on a number of fronts.
"I think it is very important that we engage with the community," he said. "Through playing local sides, we grow the game and we give an opportunity to younger players to show they may have an A-League career as a possibility.
"Secondly to play in the FFA Cup against Edgeworth who have been one of the top teams in the NNSW for so long, it's a reward for them and great for us. I hope it is a great crowd. They are well coached, it's a good young team and it is good to know that there will be one Newcastle team progress to the quarter-finals, either us or them."