JETS skipper Nigel Boogaard faces at least another week on the sidelines after his injury-enforced omission from Newcastle's squad to face Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Boogaard has been battling a groin problem since early November and last played in Newcastle's round-four loss to Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval.
He said last week: "This is probably the hardest thing I've had to deal with, in terms of not being able to contribute on the park," but added that he was hopeful of returning to action "in the next couple of weeks".
His comeback date will now be Friday week, in Wellington, at the earliest, after he was left out of the squad interim Jets coach Craig Deans named on Thursday.
In Boogaard's absence, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Lachlan Jackson will again pair up in the centre of defence against a City side who are second on the ladder and trounced the Jets 4-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium a month ago.
City are poised to unveil new signing Markel Susaeta after naming the Spanish forward in their squad, although he was reportedly still awaiting visa approval.
The 32-year-old arrives in the A-League with an impressive CV, having played more than 500 games in Spain's La Liga for Athletic Bilbao, during which time he scored 56 goals.
Susaeta played in the UEFA Europa League final with Blibao in 2012 and also represented Spain in a lone international that year, scoring a goal in their 5-1 win against Panama.
City signed Susaeta until the end of the season after he secured a free transfer from Japanese club Gamba Osaka, for whom he played five games in three months.
"Markel is a player that is well suited to the style of game we have implemented under Erick and a player who will add flair, potency and experience to our front third," City director of football Michael Petrillo said.
"We have been tracking Markel for quite some time now so to be able to get him into the squad is testament to the club and its ability to attract a player of Markel's pedigree."
City will also welcome back defender Harrison Delbridge after his second suspension of the season.
As well as Boogaard, the Jets will be without goalkeeper Glen Moss after he tore a calf muscle in last week's 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.
Moss is expected to be sidelined for at least a month, allowing Lewis Italiano an extended opportunity in goal. Rookie Noah James has been promoted to replace Italiano on the bench.
AAP reports: Kate Jacewicz will become the first female to referee an A-League match when she takes charge of Saturday's clash between City and the Jets.
The 34-year-old became the first female appointed to the A-League referees panel last August and will make history after being appointed to take the whistle at AAMI Park. Jacewicz was one of 75 referees appointed for last year's Women's World Cup, where she officiated two matches and was fourth official in another two.