Bresciano looking to keep the goals flowing

Qantas Socceroo attacking midfielder Mark Bresciano will be hoping he can carry his goal scoring form for his Italian club Palermo into international week, especially given the absence of key striker Scott McDonald.

Qantas Socceroo attacking midfielder Mark Bresciano will be hoping he can carry his goal scoring form for his Italian club Palermo into international week, especially given the absence of key striker Scott McDonald.

Bresciano came on as a half time substitute against Udinese in the opening round of the Italian season and got Palermo back into the match with a close range effort, before eventually losing 3-1.

But he hopes he can take that form not only into the friendly against The Netherlands on Sunday morning (kick is at 4.30am AEST), but more importantly into Australia-s first match of the FIFA 2010 World Cup™ Qualifiers - Round 4 against Uzbekistan, four days later in Tashkent.

The absence of McDonald with a groin injury, for most likely both matches, plus the continued absence of Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill, who are not far away from resuming with their clubs, puts more emphasise on the likes of Bresciano and fellow midfielders like Brett Holman and Mile Sterjovski to get among the goals. It-s a responsibility that he and the other attacking midfielders are prepared to accept and he has no doubt they can do the job for the team.

“It-s not only myself, but I think we do other players in the team that have that quality of scoring a goal here and there,” he said from team-s training base in Mierlo, just outside of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

“Most of the players are thinking they can come up and score goals when needed, but it-s something we are going to be working on and hopefully get better.

“Not always having the team together and players missing out with injuries, it makes it even harder for us, but we have no excuses; we-ve just got to focus on what we have to do here at the moment with first Holland and then Uzbekistan.”

The former Empoli and Parma player said that coach Pim Verbeek has been working them hard at training, but as yet has given no indications as to a starting line-up for the match against the Dutch at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven and whether that team will be the same team that plays against Uzbekistan.

“To be fair we-ve had no indication as yet; one because not everybody has arrived yet and two, it-s too early in the week. We-ll get a better indication towards the end of the week.

“Who knows whether the starting eleven against Holland is going to playing against Uzbekistan. You don-t know what can happen performance wise and let-s hope everybody stays fit and injury free.”

With next Thursday mornings match against Uzbekistan being the start of the final round of the qualifiers; one could be forgiven for the players thinking about playing in the World Cup finals in South Africa in less than two years time. However Bresciano said they are not even thinking that far ahead and just concentrating on getting over these two games this week and he knows both will be tough games.

“I think we-re too focused on these games coming up and starting in Uzbekistan and hopefully getting a good result there.

“Most of the boys are not talking about it too much - the World Cup - we-re mainly just focusing on these games.

“Our aim is direct qualification, finishing first or second in this group stage. If we do finish third, we-ve still got that chance, but we are not even considering that. Hopefully we get enough points to finish top of the group stage or second.

“We know its going to be tough (referring to Uzbekistan),” he said. “They did extremely well in the Asia Cup, but maybe it-s better for us, because they play a more European style and that will be better for us.”

For Bresciano and those guys in the squad that played at the 2006 World Cup, Mierlo brings back some fond memories, where the squad spent two and half weeks preparing for the finals.

“Yeah, we-ve got some memories here; a lot of the boys have been here before,” he said with a chuckle. “It-s a familiar place, a good location, where we can just concentrate on training and concentrate on the games coming up; it-s got all the facilities we need, so it-s good to come back.”

The Victorian is confident the issues of last season-s collapsed move to Manchester City at the 11th hour are behind him and despite consistent rumours linking him to clubs like Rangers in Scotland; he is ready to have a big season at Palermo and not let it get to him like it did last season.