State League defender Allan Welsh is having a huge week, signing with Newcastle Jets just days before he lines up with SA’s NPL title-contenders Croydon Kings on Saturday.
Welsh secured a one-year deal with the A-League outfit after impressing on trial in the Townsville Football Cup last month.
But before he links up with his new teammates at Hunter Stadium he has a little matter of a game against MetroStars at Coopers Stadium and helping the Kings lift their first trophy since 1977.
The former Adelaide United youth team captain and club’s 2011 youth team Player of the Year will reunite with another former Red, coach Phil Stubbins, when he arrives in Newcastle.
Welsh endured a long injury spell after a breakout season with the Reds youth but has worked hard to put his career back on track.
“The chance to link-up with the boys in Townsville was a really good experience and I think that will help me to settle into the club a little bit quicker,” the 20-year-old said.
“I’m looking forward to being in a professional environment again and I’ll be doing my best to play as many A-League games as possible and help the Jets have a big season.”
Townsville proved a tough testing ground for the towering centre-back, but Stubbins had nothing but praise for Welsh after the team’s 4-2 loss to Sydney FC.
‘‘He’s a young kid of 20 years of age, he’s six foot four, he’s got a great passing range to his game, decent pace and he’s only going to improve with full-time training,” he told the Newcastle Herald after the match.
‘‘In time I could see him becoming a very accomplished A-League footballer.
‘‘Nowadays you’ve got to have the full range in your locker as a player in the A-League, and Allan’s got that.
‘‘He can play with the ball at his feet, he can switch the play quite comfortably and he’s got great heading ability.’’
By Thursday, Stubbins’ opinion of his latest signing was as enthusiastic as ever.
The former Reds boss also pointing to his versatility: “He’s a tall, imposing central defender who can also do a job in the midfield if required.
“We’re pleased to have Allan at the Newcastle Jets and we look forward to him joining the rest of the squad.”
Pic: Newcastle Jets