Australian side Newcastle Jets have flown out the former Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers to assess him for a 10-week guest stint with the club.
Jeffers, who scored against Australia on his only appearance for England, arrived in Newcastle, New South Wales, last weekend and has been training with the Jets since. The player has been a free agent since being released by Sheffield Wednesday in May and sees the chance to join the Jets as a way to restart his career.
The Jets' head coach Branco Culina said yesterday: "You can see he has got a better touch than the average player but his fitness is a fair bit off, but you can only help that if you are training I suppose. We will make a decision on him in the next couple of days. We don't want to keep him here for too long if we don't sign him."
Culina feels 29-year-old Jeffers does not fit easily with his side's style of play, but with their captain Michael Bridges, formerly of Sunderland and Leeds United, out for another two months with a knee injury and the New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie also injured, the Jets are in dire need of a proven goalscorer.
"Looking at him, he is not a target man and it would require us to change our style of play, but if it meant scoring goals then I would be prepared to do that," Culina said. "But it is a big outlay so we have to feel quite confident he can do the job for us."
Jeffers' career has stalled since Arsène Wenger paid £8m to take him to Arsenal from Everton in 2001. Jeffers played only 22 times for the Gunners, scoring four goals, before going back to Goodison Park on loan. He then had spells at Charlton, Rangers, Blackburn and Ipswich before joining Wednesday in 2007.Reuse content