Hiddink Remains Positive Despite Injuries

Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink is remaining positive ahead of the important friendly international against Jamaica, despite niggling injuries interrupting preparations for the match.

Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink is remaining positive ahead of the important friendly international against Jamaica, despite niggling injuries interrupting preparations for the match. Coming into the camp, Hiddink (pictured right) was faced with half a dozen players that appeared unlikely to feature in the match against Jamaica, but he is optimistic that several will recover in time for Sunday-s game at Craven Cottage in London. "We have a few (players) that have some problems," Hiddink told the Australian media. “We know Craig Moore, Tony Popovic have problems as does Mark Schwarzer but Harry Kewell has been training well. But he will not be fit to play a full game. “However I think we still have a good squad.” While Hiddink agreed that it would have been better to have all his players available for the Jamaica game, with it being the last match before the World Cup qualifiers, he remains upbeat the players here in camp will do the job. “Of course it would have been better if all the players were fully fit now, especially the experienced players. But you have to accept that and I hope they will be fit in the upcoming weeks so they can play for their clubs to get a little bit of rhythm for November. Hiddink will wait till Saturday before making a final decision on the final make-up of the starting eleven, to give some of his injured players as much time as possible to play. The Dutchmen also quickly squashed suggestions that uncapped goalkeeper Ante Covic, would be handed a start with both Mark Schwarzer and Zeljko Kalac on the injured list. Schwarzer yesterday virtually ruled himself out of playing in the game with a shoulder injury that has seen him miss the last three matches for Middlesbrough, while Kalac rolled an ankle at training yesterday and is in doubt. "Zeljko Kalac is ok and Schwarzer is training now and is likely to be fit for the weekend." Hiddink is using the training camp and Jamaica match to work on tactical systems, with an emphasis on flexibility during the game, dependant on how the opposition lines at times during matches. To this end, the decision by Everton manager David Moyes not to release Tim Cahill, until the FIFA stipulated 48 hours before the game, was very disappointing. Moyes has now asked for Cahill to be released from the game on Sunday, although Hiddink indicated that the key midfielder will still link up with the Australian team as expected on Saturday in London. The Dutchmen also expressed his disappointment at Ljubo Milicevic-s decision to return to Australia to be best man at his brother-s wedding, in light of his recent performances in the Champions League. “I watched him play for Thun against Arsenal (in the Champions League) and he did well. I regret he is not here now,” Hiddink said.

Hiddink also confirmed the rumours that he is contemplating sending several players direct to Australia for the second leg of the World Cup play-offs that will be played at Telstra Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday November 16. The radical step by Hiddink has been borne about by the fitness concerns of several Socceroos, although he wouldn-t confirm which players he had in mind. "We are thinking about this because it's not ideal the second leg is on the 16th that means just three days to travel and recover," Hiddink said from the Socceroos' week-long training camp in Holland today. "We will look with the medical staff which players we, lets say, can survive the trip to South America and then to Australia. There might be some players who may have some difficulties with that, so we are thinking of sending players also to Australia beforehand. Asked if that meant Harry Kewell, Hiddink said, “I don't want to speculate which ones."