CHIEF executive Lawrie McKinna expects high octane wingback Matt Millar to be on deck for the Jets in the new year after Shrewsbury Town FC missed a deadline to buy out his contract.
Under the loan deal between the clubs, Shrewsbury Town had until December 1 to trigger an option to sign Millar permanently at an agreed transfer figure.
The League One strugglers were given an extra week to allow new manager Steve Cotteril to properly assess his squad.
Millar hit the crossbar and went close with a header in Shrewsbury Town's 1-all draw with Charlton Athletic on Saturday night.
They were unbeaten in three matches since Cotterill replaced Sam Ricketts before a second-string squad went down 4-1 in the second round of the EPL Trophy on Tuesday night. Millar didn't play.
On loan until December 31, Millar has become a favourite with Shrewsbury Town supporters. The powerful right-sided player has scored two goals and gone close on several occasions.
However, Cotterill, whose team are five points from safety in the League One drop zone, wants more time to evaluate Millar and the squad.
"He's a good athlete, and has done better with his crossing than what I've (previously) seen," Cotterill told the Shropshire Star newspaper. "I just need to look at him longer, that's where it is. I've been here a week and he's played one game.
"The player has got to be right. I'm going to need this month to look at him. The transfer window's not open anyway. Even if I make my decision now, what happens if I change my mind in three weeks? I'll have a better idea when we get to the end of the month."
However, McKinna said the Jets needed an answer now.
"In the loan agreement, we were supposed to be notified by December 1," he said. "We gave them another week. They now need to make a decision because we have to get our squad right as well. We have a couple of trialists we are looking at as cover for Matty. But if there is no transfer, we would expect him back. His loan deal expires on December 31 and we would expect him to return to Newcastle."
Millar has expressed a desire to continue in England, but McKinna said he had not been contacted by the player's agent.
Veteran Jason Hoffman has replaced Millar at right wingback for the Jets.
Melbourne duo Josh Wilkins and Dillon Jakupi have been training for the past two weeks and are likely to play off the bench in a friendly against Brisbane Roar in Coffs Harbour on Saturday.
Millar, who recently bought a house in Newcastle, scored four goals and provided three assists for the Jets last season.
He has been just as dynamic in attack for Shrewsbury but Cotterill said he needs more education.
"He needs to understand the game more but that will come with time," the manager said. "At the moment he wants to score a goal whereas you can't always score a goal from that position. Sometimes he turns up somewhere and you think 'my god how has he got there?' We'll have teams pinned in and he wants to go and get a goal. I don't mind up gambling and doing that ... but what he can't do, or any other wing-back, is run us off shape too much so we get counter-attacked."
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