Who will make the cut for Jordan?
The Qantas Socceroos head to the Middle East needing a positive result in the World Cup qualifier - but who should Holger Osieck select to face Lebanon and Jordan?
It-s not quite right to say the heat is on the Qantas Socceroos ahead of their trip to the Middle East, but there is certainly a certain amount of pressure for a good performance in the World Cup qualifier against Jordan.
After the friendly loss to Scotland, questions have been asked of recent results and Holger Osieck-s tactics; four games without a win and only two goals scored.
The excellent draw against Japan showed Australia still possess the class to match the best teams - but they need to make an impression in Group B.
No one seriously thinks they won-t get at least second place - but do we really want to watch Japan-s backside disappearing up the table, at this early stage of qualification?
All the hype around the Scotland game was that Holger was going to open the door for the kids but while a couple of whippersnappers sneaked through but it was hardly generation next.
Instead, what we got confirmed - if we ever doubted it - is that Holger likes to stick largely with those he knows, believing that with a group of players as disparate and time zone-challenged as the Socceroos, familiarity breeds content.
Those who are playing regularly or at least match-fit are always in with a chance. With that in mind, which players might have caught Holger-s eye for the friendly against Lebanon and important qualifier against Jordan?
Matt McKay, so impressive in his development from local lad to senior Socceroo, could be ready for a return after recovering from injury to play regular football - and score - for Korean club side Busan Ipark. That could certainly ease some of the concerns on the left wing.
Young defender Luke DeVere is also fit again and featured against former Roar teammate McKay for Gyeongnam.
Elsewhere in Asia, Alex Brosque continues to impress for Shimizu S-Pulse. Jade North, a player Holger has admitted can do what he asks, is also back from injury and played a full game for Consadole Sapporo last weekend.
Striker John Kennedy missed the Scotland game through injury and still hasn-t played for club side Nagoya Grampus since mid-July, so it seems likely that Osieck will miss his current first-choice No.9 again.
And so to the rest of the world - skipper Lucas Neill must have his name down on the team sheet in permanent texter, especially now he-s found himself a new club.
Tim Cahill-s back in the goals with new side New York Red Bulls - will Holger give him more time to bed in with his new side or does he rate the qualifier against Jordan important enough to pull out all the biggest of his big guns, Dirty Harry style?
Or does he feel lucky, punk? Lucky enough to leave Tim pigging out on hot dogs with ‘kraut in the Big Apple, and look to a few more breakthrough players?
James Holland is enjoying the clean mountain air with Austria Vienna, playing all six games so far this term, while Adam Sarota has also been a regular for FC Utrecht, with wee Tommy Oar still stuck on the bench.
In England, Brett Holman came on as sub for Aston Villa, while Rhys Williams has been crucial to Middlesbrough-s good early season form.
Everyone-s favourite striker-without-goals Scott McDonald is still stuck on the sidelines at his club but, as proved against Scotland, Holger seems to be satisfied by his work rate for the team as a whole.
The news boys from Easter Road - Ryan McGowan, who featured against Liverpool in the Europa League, and Jason Davidson, who made such a memorable debut, certainly did enough to show they-re ready to be at least included in the camp again.
And finally, the friendly against Lebanon could be a full century of A international caps for already legendary keeper Mark Schwarzer. Maybe we should get him a cake or something? Has everyone signed the card?
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect those of FFA or the Qantas Socceroos team.
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