Kilkenny relishing Denmark challenge

After a nail-biting end to the English Championship season with his club side, Neil Kilkenny hopes to play a part for the Qantas Socceroos when their nerves are tested in the coming weeks.

After a nail-biting end to the English Championship season with his club side, Neil Kilkenny hopes to play a part for the Qantas Socceroos when their nerves are tested in the coming weeks.

Kilkenny, 26, is in line to contribute for his country in Saturday-s friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen and will do so on the back of the Bristol City-s dramatic end to England-s second tier competition.

Bristol came within nine points of being relegated and Kilkenny played a significant role in ensuring his club remained in the Championship for 2012/13 - playing in seven of the last eight matches where the Robins were unbeaten.

With club matters taken care of, Kilkenny-s focus is now with the Qantas Socceroos and his role to play in Australia-s engine room.

“It-s good to be back, getting on with all the boys and it-s good to see everyone again,” said Kilkenny.

“I-ve not really been in the situation I was in last year, obviously a bit of a relegation dogfight but hopefully next year we can push forward, it was a learning curve for me, but I-m looking forward to the next season to come along now.”

Under Qantas Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, Kilkenny has enjoyed an extended run of game time, starting at last year-s AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

Since debuting in 2006, Kilkenny has made 13 appearances for Australia, including three in the most recent FIFA World Cup qualification phase.

Having shown great promise when in green and gold previously, Kilkenny hopes to continue his international form in June-s crucial qualification fixtures, which will be preluded by Saturday-s clash in Copenhagen.

“I know a few (Denmark) players, obviously the higher profile players, I know they-re in the top ten of the FIFA World Rankings so it-ll be a hard game and a hard test but one that we-re looking forward to,” said Kilkenny.

“(Against Oman in Muscat) obviously it-s going to be a massive, massive game, first one of the second stage of the World Cup qualifiers and we need to go in there and do well.

“Hopefully the boys will be confident and I-m sure that we will and hopefully we-ll go and get a win there.”

Beyond upcoming clashes in Copenhagen and Muscat, Kilkenny also has one eye on 12 June-s match at Brisbane Stadium, which will see the Queensland product return to his hometown.

“Obviously it-s nice to play at where you used to live and back home,” said Kilkenny.

“I-m really looking forward to it, playing in front of friends and family and obviously in front of the Australian public so it-s something to look forward to and hopefully we-ll get a win there.

“It-s going to be a hard game, Japan are a decent team, we know that, we played them in the Asian Cup final, it could have gone each way but unluckily for us, they got the win.

“We-re looking to do well and get the three points.”

The Qantas Socceroos face Denmark in an international friendly at Copenhagen-s Parken Stadium on Saturday, 2 June. Kick off is at 5pm. (Sunday, 3 June AEST, Kick off is at 1am AEST).

The Qantas Socceroos begin their final phase of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a clash against Oman in Muscat on Friday, 8 June.

Soon after, the Qantas Socceroos will host Japan in their first home fixture of the fourth stage of Asia-s FIFA World Cup qualification process on Tuesday, 12 June at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm.

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