FORMER New Zealand assistant coach Darren Bazeley will join the Jets but just when he and the other football staff will be able to work with the squad remains unclear, despite gatherings of up to 10 people being permitted in NSW from Friday.
Bazeley, a former fullback who represented England under-21s, played alongside Jets coach Carl Robinson at Wolverhampton Wanderers before finishing his professional career in the A-League at the New Zealand Knights.
He has spent the majority of the past 10 year coaching in New Zealand, where he took the national under-20 side to the World Cup, and was an assistant with the All Whites senior team before joining US Major Soccer League club Colorado Rapids in 2018.
The 47-year-old is back in New Zealand and will move to Newcastle as soon as COVID-19 border restrictions are lifted.
Craig Deans, who had assisted Robinson during his transition into the Jets job, will return to his role at the head of the club's academy.
"Darren has an understanding of the league, having played with the New Zealand Knights," Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said. "He has coached in the New Zealand set up and also in the US. Prior to that he had a good playing career with Watford and Wolverhampton, where he formed a relationship with Carl."
Robinson told the Newcastle Herald this week that he wants to bring through young players and Bazeley has a strong record in youth development.
Jets players have been following individual training programs since the A-League was postponed on March 24.
The league is flagged to restart in August. Technically players can train in groups of up to 10 from Friday when NSW enters phase one of the COVID-safe framework.
However, McKinna said the Jets would continue to train as is for now.
"All A-League clubs have agreed to come back to training at the same time once the FFA and PFA (players union) have sorted out a return date," McKinna said. "A few of the boys have been training in pairs. If they were to get together it would be off their own back. The club won't start training until the league has given the go ahead."
McKinna is working with FFA to get the coaches back to Australia for the start of training.
"The understanding is that once the borders are opened, essential service people will be allowed in first and we will be putting in a request to have Carl and Kenny fast-tracked," McKinna said. "We make the request to FFA who go through the appropriate body."
The Jets have matches remaining against Wellington, Central Coast, Sydney FC and Western United. They are three points behind sixth-placed Western United, who have played two games less.
Robinson is planning a mini pre-season before the league restarts.
Conditioning coach Brice Johnson and physio Nathan Renwick are "dealing with the physical aspects".
"My biggest thing will be reaffirming what we worked on in the eight weeks I was there," he said.
"I also want them to be adaptable in relation to a different formation. I am going to bring in different type of players next season, and I want to have plan b and plan c. es, we are fighting for results and we still want to get to the play-offs ... it's also an opportunity for me to try different things with different people."