The chances of Ivan Franjic being available for Saturday night’s Asian Cup final have improved with scans clearing the Socceroos right-back of any significant injury.
Franjic is racing the clock to prove his fitness for the decider against Korea Republic after a suffering what appeared to be a groin injury but was confirmed as a hip complaint in the 2-0 semi-final win over UAE on Tuesday night.
While the Torpedo Moscow man is not completely over the line yet, his hopes appear much stronger than they were on Wednesday when the team arrived in Sydney from Newcastle.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was optimistic about the ex-Brisbane Roar FC defender's chances of being fit, especially with the scans showing no serious damage.
"He's still a bit sore from the game, but it looks more promising today than it did probably post-game, so he's definitely still a chance,” Postecoglou said.
“He had some scans, but nothing really came up…it's nothing serious. If it was a normal break, he would be fine.
"With the quick turnaround that’s the issue, but that’s balanced against the fact it's such a big game and I'm sure he'll give himself every chance."
Socceroos medical staff will continue to work overtime on Franjic, in the hope he will be as close as possible to 100 percent come kick off on Saturday.
The big test will come on Friday afternoon when the team has their final training session at Stadium Australia.
Ange Postecoglou will want Franjic to complete that session without any drama to be feel comfortable throwing him into arguably Australia’s biggest ever match on home soil.
The Socceroos squad were given Thursday off training with the entire squad, including Franjic, going on a team walk around the city to loosen up any stiff limbs from what’s been a hectic campaign.
Franjic, who has played every minute of the five matches leading up to the final, would be a huge loss for the side, especially with back up right back Chris Herd already out for the tournament with an Achilles problem.
Midfielder Mark Milligan or central defender Trent Sainsbury appear the two most likely candidates to fill in for Franjic if he fails to get up for the final.
The Socceroos will face Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup Final at Stadium Australia on Saturday 31 January (8.00pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.
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