• Patricio Rodriguez of the Jets (Getty Images AsiaPac)
Just as they are looking forward to the A-League return of Ronald Vargas, the Newcastle Jets have lost his replacement Pato Rodriguez to a calf strain.
21 Feb 2018 - 1:54 PM  UPDATED 21 Feb 2018 - 1:54 PM

The Argentine attacker, who was signed as an injury replacement for Venezuela forward Vargas, has found himself on the sidelines for a chunk of the remaining regular season.

The timing couldnt be any worse for Ernie Merrick's side as they battle to lock down a top-two spot with only seven games remaining in the season.

Five things we learned from A-League Round 20
Socceroo hopefuls, continental commitments and a fresh approach completed what was a rather eventful split round of A-League action.

Newcastle are five points clear of third placed Melbourne City and are in the box seat to claim a finals bye and a crucial home match in the second week of the A-League finals.

Like Vargas, Rodriguez has become a fan favourite among Newcastle fans despite only a short tenure at Macdonald Jones Stadium.

The injury opens the door for Riley McGree to start for the Jets against the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.