Aussies Abroad | February review

Winter breaks, injuries and one eye on the Qantas Socceroos' World cup qualifier made February a quiet month for our Aussies Abroad.

Most European leagues are back after a winter break, and the Asian and North American leagues are commencing the 2013 season, which means there is a lot of action to cover.

There are numerous club competitions in progress across each continent, with plenty of Aussies featuring and although the majority of the transfer windows are closed, there has been plenty of loan activity as the Qantas Socceroos prepare to face Oman in the FIFA World Cup qualifier later this month.

The Qantas Socceroos face Oman in a FIFA World Cup qualifier Sydney on 26 March. Click here to buy your tickets.

Around the clubs: England (Premiership): Compared to the normal Aussie activity in the EPL, a fairly quiet month. Brett Holman is not starting very often at Aston Villa, while Chris Herd is nearing a comeback from injury.

Mark Schwarzer kept two clean sheets in his four appearances for Fulham during the month. Adam Federici has been in good form at Reading, however his team have been giving up a few goals to put them back in the relegation zone. Brad Jones (Liverpool) had some games on the bench but is now is the treatment room.

Championship: A mixed bag for the Aussies in the Championship. Mile Jedinak continues to shine at Crystal Palace, having now made 32 starts this campaign. Shane Lowry (Millwall) has chalked up a few yellow cards this season, and even saw red during February. After a strong Christmas period, the Millwall defence has proven a little vulnerable of late.

The Aussies at Middlesbrough have also not had a great month; Scott McDonald has resumed after a short injury break, but hasn-t scored in his past four games. Rhys Williams has also struggled a little and recently lost his spot in the starting XI. Seb Usai remains on the bench at Blackburn as does Patrick Kisnorbo at Ipswich Town and Neil Kilkenny at Bristol City.

League One: A reasonable month for our Aussies at Oldham Athletic, with Dean Bouzanis the mainstay in goal until being struck down with illness, to be replaced by fellow Australian Alex Cisak. Then young Liam Jacob took a place on the bench.

James Wesolowski also continues to get good minutes although they continue to sit in the bottom few places on the table. Bailey Wright has now made 26 starts this campaign, and has scored a few goals in the New Year. With more than 1000 minutes in his 12 starts, the loan move of Bradden Inman to Crewe Alexandra has been productive.

League Two: A Wembley appearance for Curtis Good (Bradford City) in late February, but a forgettable result unfortunately. Jamie Young has been very solid between the sticks for Aldershot, keeping four clean sheets over the past month and playing every minute of the season so far.

Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Rochdale) has been playing but in a side that has been leaking goals and sliding down the table. It was a similar fate for Aaron Downes (Torquay,) who is currently out injured.

Germany (Bundesliga): Robbie Kruse continues his fine season at Fortuna Dusseldorf, now having made 21 starts. Mitch Langerak must be one of the most trustworthy deputy-s in the goalkeeping fraternity, as he patiently waits on the bench at Borussia Dortmund for his rare opportunities. Unfortunately Nikita Rukavytsya has been unsighted at Mainz since the resumption of the league.

2.Bundesliga: Also a little quiet for Mathew Leckie at FSV Frankfurt, with the shortage of minutes leading to an appearance in the reserves recently.

Italy (Serie A): Granted, James Troisi is at the top level in Italy, but 22 appearances as an unused substitute can-t be helping his match fitness.

Netherlands (Eredivisie): With injury impacting the Utrecht Aussies, Tommy Oar and Michael Zullo have seen limited minutes during February, and it would be good to see both getting some good game time ahead of the Oman game. The same can be said of Jason Davidson who was a constant on the bench during February.

Turkey (Super Lig): Ersan Gulum (Besiktas) has been the most prominent Aussie in this league, both in terms of minutes played and impact. Aziz Behich made his debut for Bursaspor in a cup game, while Kerem Bulut is still searching for his debut goal at relegation threatened Akhiser Belediye GS.

Austria (Bundesliga) : James Holland has well and truly cemented his place at league leading Austria Wien and having now made 22 appearances, it is great to see him take big steps in his career.

Scotland (Premier League) : Twenty-one year old Dylan McGowan has now made 14 appearances for Hearts this season. Rab Douglas is nearing his 250th appearance for Dundee, with young Aussie keeper Alex Baird sitting on the bench and watching for the last 28 of those games.

Portugal (Primeira): Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Vitoria Setubal) continues to warm the bench.

Greece (Super League): A positive start (four starts and debut goal) to the loan period at Plantanias for Apostolis Giannou.

Greece (Football League): Andreas Govas continues to make appearances off the bench for AEL Kallonis, while Billy Konstantinidis (Ethinikos Gazoros) continues to start and has scored his debut goal.

Cyprus (1.Division): Robert Stambolziev (Olympiakos Nicosia) has been starting his club-s recent fixtures.

Malta (Premier League): - Jacob Borg has displayed solid form since his move to Balzan Youths. He was rewarded with a call up to the Maltese national team, but did not get on the park.

Qatar (Stars League): Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa) and Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) started all their clubs fixtures during February.

U.A.E. (UFL): Another solid month for Alex Brosque (Al Ain) as he scored in both the domestic league and Asian Champions League. Nick Carle has amassed over 1000 minutes at Baniyas - but the thought of returning to Sydney FC to play with Alessandro Del Piero, Lucas Neill, Joel Griffiths and Brett Emerton must be appealing.

Dino Djulbic has settled in at Al Wahda, scoring a brace during one league game in February. And after starting the season with a bang, Richard Porta (Dubai) is now goalless since early December.

Indonesia (Super League): Dane Milovanovic (Pelita Bandung Raya) has started the season strongly with three goals in his first eight appearances, while defender Jovo Pavlovic has made five starts for Mitra Kukar.

Indonesia (Premier League): Mario Karlovic (Persebaya Surabaya 1927) opened his scoring account for the new season in the first round.

Iran (Persian Gulf Cup): A red card and a hamstring injury have temporary halted the good run of Milan Susak at Sepahan.

Injuries: Unfortunately the number of long-term injuries has mounted over recent weeks. Adam Sarota (Utrecht) is possibly on top of that list after having a knee reconstruction, as has young striker Kofi Danning who was starting to find his way at CS Vise in Belgium, and Liverpool youth player Brad Smith. James Meredith (Bradford City) is a hard luck story after missing a trip to Wembley courtesy of glandular fever.

Carl Valeri (Sassuolo) has had ankle surgery and faces a few months on the sidelines. Chris Herd (foot), Brad Jones (shoulder), Matthew Spiranovic (ankle), Milan Susak (hamstring), Adrian Madaschi (hamstring) and Aaron Downes (hamstring) hope to return during March.

More disturbing is the opening day absence of Josh Kennedy (back), Matt Simon (knee), Nathan Burns (knee), and Luke DeVere (knee) from their club fixtures in Asia. Hope to see those players back in the coming weeks as well.

Club Competitions: Europe UEFA Champions League: A 0-3 home loss to Juventus means Celtic (Irvine, Rogic) face an uphill battle to stay in the competition. Better fortunes for Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund) as his team managed a 2-2 result away from home in the first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk

UEFA Europa League: Brad Jones watched from the bench as Zenit eliminated Liverpool from the competition. Spurs meet Inter in the next round but Aussie boys Luongo and Gallifuoco are unlikely to feature.

Asia AFC Cup: The 2013 tournament has now commenced with two Aussies featuring in home wins in February. Both Michael Cvetkovski (Yangon United) and Andrew Barisic (East Bengal) started for their respective teams.

AFC Champions League: Numerous Aussies involved in the group stages with starts for Eddy Bosnar (Suwon Bluewings),Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Alex Brosque (Al Ain), and Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa) while Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors) watched from the bench.

North America CONCACAF Champions League: No fixtures in February, Seattle Sounders (Andy Rose) remain in the competition.

U21s: The pipeline remains strong at this level. Mentioning a few players that have made good recent progress at this level; Dean Gardikiotis (Blackpool), Aaron Lennox (QPR), Peter Skapetis (QPR), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Massimo Luongo (Spurs) and Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Spurs).

In Scotland, Jackson Irvine (Celtic) has made his comeback after a long injury break. Down in Italy and the Primavera, Chris Oikonomidis (Atalanta) and Paul Katsetis (Catania) consistently appear for their clubs while in Holland, Travis Cooper (VVV Venlo) has been starting and scoring of late for the youth team.

Youth: Tthe FA Youth Cup final was played during February with Leicester City having both Rob Paratore (captain) and Callum Elder taking the field. Peter Makrillos (Stoke City), Thomas Beadling (Sunderland) and Taylor Tombides (West Ham) all continue to make good progress in England. Finally an update on 14-year-old Reno Piscopo, who continues to score goals for Inter Milan-s Giovanissimi Nazionale team.

International level: A friendly against Romania was the only run out for the Qantas Socceroos during February. While the result didn-t go in our favour, a lot of positives in terms of the squad. Another impressive game in midfield by James Holland, the return of Michael Zullo to left back, and the continuing emergence of Robert Cornthwaite at centre back.

Federici, Ryan McGowan and Rhys Williams all came off the bench, they represent the future of the Australian defence over coming years. We have the all-important WC qualifier against Oman during March with a good pool of players at Holger-s disposal.

Socceroo of the month: Playing in the Championship, Mile Jedinak has embraced the captain-s armband at Crystal Palace. He had a nasty face injury, but shrugged that off and returned to the pitch quickly. His presence in midfield is important in his team-s challenge for automatic promotion and numerous other clubs monitoring the progress of the 28-year-old.

Under the radar: Bound to be a controversial selection, but Ersan Gulum has certainly re-established himself at Turkish powerhouse Besiktas after a knee reconstruction. He is back in the starting eleven, scored during the month, and has been at the heart of a defence that went undefeated in February. We know he got called up for Turkey, but Rhys Williams also flirted with Wales before representing the green and gold.

Young player of the month: Seventeen-year-old Robert Paratore has had a tremendous month at Leicester City. Spending the month playing both U18-s and coming off the bench for the U21-s, he recently had the honour of captaining the U18-s in the FA Youth Cup final. After scoring the opening Leicester City goal, the game went to extra time before Hull City prevailed.