Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has announced his provisional 30 man squad for the two final World Cup qualifying group games beginning later this month, starting with an away game against Japan and ending with a home match with Thailand.
Sitting third in the group at present, one point behind joint leaders Japan and Saudi Arabia, Australia needs at least four points from the remaining two group matches to qualify automatically. Anything less, and the team will have to rely on other matches going in its favour in order to qualify automatically. If not, they face the prospect of a difficult play-off series.
In addition to the squad which went to Russia in July for the Confederations Cup, Postecoglou has named experienced skipper Mile Jedinak who has yet to return to the field following a groin injury that kept him from making an appearance on the field in Russia. In doing so, the coach has given the skipper a further chance to prove his fitness before announcing the final 23 man squad next week.
Another player returning to the squad after absence due to injury is central defender Matthew Spiranovic and is joined by another central defender, Matthew Jurman. Twenty-seven-year-old Jurman is one of five uncapped players named in the squad, having impressed with his form at K-League club Suwon Samsung Bluewings. The other four uncapped players named in what is an experienced squad are midfielders James Jeggo and Riley McGree, attacker Awer Mabil and keeper Danny Vudovic.
The only current A-League players to be named in the squad are arguably three of the more experienced Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Mark Milligan and James Troisi.
Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan, Mitchell Langerak, Danny Vukovic, Adam Federici
Defence: Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Brad Smith, Aziz Behich, Bailey Wright, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Matt Jurman, Matthew Spiranovic
Midfield: Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, James Troisi, James Jeggo, Ajdin Hrustic, Massimo Luongo, Jackson Irvine, Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Riley McGree, Mustafa Amini
Attack: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil