Jedinak named in extended Australia squad for World Cup playoff
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of Australia's World Cup playoff against Honduras next month after being named in an extended 30-man squad on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old midfielder has been hampered by a groin injury for months and has barely played for his English club Aston Villa or his country since April, missing both legs of Australia's Asian playoff against Syria.
"There are a couple of weeks before the group gets together so we will be monitoring the health and fitness of every player to make sure that the final twenty-three are available for what is going to be a challenging couple of games," coach Ange Postecoglou said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We feel that we are right on schedule with regards to our arrangements, logistics and intelligence for Honduras, and are comfortable that the work completed and decisions made so far will help us in our quest to qualify for Russia."
Postecoglou will trim his squad to 23 players next week for the two-legged tie, with the first match in Honduras on Nov. 10, before the second game in Sydney on Nov. 15. The aggregate winners earn a spot at the finals in Russia next year.
Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti (NAC Breda, Netherlands), Mitchell Langerak (Levante, Spain), Mat Ryan (Brighton, England), Danny Vukovic (Genk, Belgium).
Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos, Japan), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg, Norway), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Matthew Jurman (Suwon, South Korea), Ryan McGowan (Al Sharjah, UAE), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning, China), Bailey Wright (Bristol City, England).
Midfielders: Mustafa Amini (AGF, Denmark), Jackson Irvine (Hull City, England), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz, Austria), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory).
Forwards: Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Ajdin Hrustic (Gronigen, Netherlands), Tom Juric (Luzern, Switzerland), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Awer Mabil (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt, Germany), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa, Israel).
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)