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.
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's FA Cup action on the cards for two Australians this weekend as another prepares for a massive top-of-the-table encounter. Multiple players are involved in matches with major title ramifications, while Mark Milligan has a new manager to impress in Scotland. Read on t
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic keeps clean sheet as Genk earn crucial away result
Danny Vukovic was the only Caltex Socceroo in action on Friday morning (AEDT) as his Genk side secured a 0-0 away draw against Slavia Prague in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. Vukovic played a crucial role in earning a clean sheet, making five saves as Slavia bombarded the
Joeys squad announced for next month's UEFA-hosted youth tournament in Turkey
Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan today confirmed Australia’s squad for next month’s UEFA-hosted youth tournament in Turkey. Twenty of Australia’s best youth footballers will travel to Antalya in March for matches against the host nation (4 March), Tanzania (6 March), and Guinea