Baan would be happy with draw in Iran

Qantas Under 23’s coach Rob Baan will be happy if his team can come away with a draw from their opening Group D match of the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifiers against Iran in Tehran.

Qantas Under 23-s coach Rob Baan will be happy if his team can come away with a draw from their opening Group D match of the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifiers against Iran in Tehran.

Wednesday night-s game represents a difficult challenge for Baan and the players, given the disrupted preparation and injuries to key players in the build up. Iran will also be a tough opponent and the team has been preparing heavily for these qualifiers.

“First of all, I hope the team is performing according to what I would like them to,” said Baan, just before boarding the plane to Tehran from their middle east base in Dubai.

“I have confidence we can at least come home with a draw. I think a draw in Iran would be acceptable.”

The Dutchmen, who presided over an easy first up qualifying play-off win over Chinese Taipei, acknowledges that a good start is necessary for his side.

“Very important (getting off to a good start). I am happy to get a full squad and I think we can get off to a good start.”

Baan has had to battle a tough preparation, which has coincided with the Hyundai A-League finals series, European clubs not releasing players and injuries suffered by key players Stuart Musialik, Spase Dilevski and Ruben Zadkovich. All three were likely to be first team starters.

On a positive note though, Mark Milligan rejoined the squad in Dubai, after he was forced to return to Australia after breaking his nose in the return leg against Chinese Taipei two weeks ago. His return coupled with the arrival of Trent McClenahan, Nick Ward and David Williams gives Baan plenty of food for thought.

“I am very happy with the players coming in from England, as they can replace Musialik, Dilevski and Zadkovich. I have only one decision to make for the upcoming match and that is whether to start Ward in Dilevski-s position.”

Possible line-up: Danny Vukovic (gk); Trent McClenahan, Mark Milligan, Adrian Leijer, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Nick Ward/Dario Vidosic, Kristian Sarkies, Nathan Burns, Mark Bridge, Bruce Djite, David Williams

The match against Iran kicks off at 3.00pm (10.30pm AEDT).

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