• Carl Robinson during his time at Vancouver Whitecaps in 2017 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Welshman Carl Robinson has emerged as the favourite to succeed Ernie Merrick at Newcastle Jets, as the A-League’s bottom club look for a panacea to rescue their season.
Dave Lewis

17 Jan 2020 - 6:16 PM  UPDATED 17 Jan 2020 - 6:16 PM

Whilst several names closer to home have been touted for the job, it appears the former Vancouver Whitecaps coach has impressed the Jets hierarchy and could even be unveiled in the coming days.

Still only 43, the former Wales midfielder spent six years with the Whitecaps in the MLS, first as assistant before being appointed head coach in 2013.

He departed the club, looking to take a break from football to spend time with his family 16 months ago, having led the ‘Caps to the MLS Cup play-offs on three occasions and the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals once.

Robinson has been quietly seeking a re-entry into the game for several months now and was previously linked with the Adelaide United job that went to Gertjan Verbeek, and the Melbourne Victory gig which was awarded to the recently axed Marco Kurz.

He built a reputation for getting the best out of a poorly resourced squad at Vancouver - an attribute not lost on Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna, who confirmed to The World Game that Robinson was on a shortlist for the job.

McKinna has spearheaded the hunt for Merrick’s replacement, after he was sacked nearly two weeks ago following a run of four defeats from five games.

With funds at a premium, Robinson will be taking on a familiar challenge if he is appointed by the Jets.

He spent a decade in the MLS, first as a player with Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls, before turning to coaching.

The majority of his playing career was back in England where he had seven seasons at Wolverhampton Wanderers, before subsequent spells at the likes of Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Sunderland and Norwich City - accumulating 52 Wales caps along the way.

He was also responsible for bringing Australian striker Bernie Ibini to the MLS in 2017 for a one-season stint.