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Burns set to face Wellington

20 August 2013 02:49

Former Adelaide forward Nathan Burns will make his maiden appearance for Newcastle Jets on Saturday in a friendly against Wellington.

The 25-year-old, who has joined the Jets on loan from South Korean club Incheon United, arrived in Newcastle on Monday and immediately threw himself into training.

Jets head coach Gary van Egmond was pleased with what he saw and the 48-year-old wants to test Burns against the Phoenix, although he has resisted the temptation to play the versatile forward against the Canberra NPL All Stars on Wednesday.

"Obviously he'll (Burns) take a little bit of time to adjust," van Egmond said on Tuesday.

"His actual fitness is good but his match fitness needs to improve, so we need to get some games into him.

"He won't go to Canberra, but hopefully we'll see him against Wellington.

"He'll get 45 minutes hopefully come Saturday and we'll build him up from there."

While the K-League started in March, Burns has not played for Incheon this season as he has struggled to impress head coach Bong-Gil Kim, while he also suffered a knee injury.

But van Egmond is positive about what Burns will bring to the Jets as the seven-time Australia international can play as a winger, central attacking midfielder or a striker.

Burns could go a long way to replacing Ryan Griffiths, who left Newcastle for Beijing Baxy midway through last season, having scored nine goals and created seven more in his 21 games for the Jets in the 2012/13 A-League campaign.

"We just feel we're going to get a lot of good running off the ball with Nathan," van Egmond said.

"He's one that can go past players and he scores goals.

"He can score goals from dribbling and with both feet in regards to his finishing, he can set people up and he can score one-touch finishes.

"There's a lot going on in his game and he's come back with a real point to prove, so from my point of view it is ideal."

Burns has had a tough time since leaving Adelaide United for AEK Athens in 2008, with just 70 games to his name in five seasons in Greece and South Korea.

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