Jedinak spared Socceroos training
Photo Source: AAP
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says he'll make some - but not a lot - of changes to his team to face Japan in a critical World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.
A win at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium would be a huge stride towards the 2018 tournament for Australia, maintaining their top place in the group and earning them a four-point buffer over their arch-rivals.
But Postecoglou has plenty to ponder in picking his side, including the fitness of captain Mile Jedinak.
Jedinak, 32, didn't take part in the Socceroos light training session on Sunday at Lakeside Stadium, instead heading to the Victorian Institute of Sport's pool next door.
The Aston Villa midfielder was spared training between national team matches last month, and didn't play in the second qualifier against United Arab Emirates.
Earlier on Sunday, Postecoglou said every player was "fit and available for selection", but the same team wouldn't feature.
"We'll make at least a couple (of changes) because we've got an opportunity to do that," he said.
"We've got some players in the squad who didn't play in the first game and have got a bit of energy about them.
"It's going to take another big effort on Tuesday so we'll make sure we put the strongest team out there we think will get the job done."
Two days out from the match, the priority for the other 22 squad members seems to getting some shut-eye.
A challenging transit from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to Melbourne was lengthened by an unwanted stopover in Adelaide to refuel.
Three hours was a popular response from players when asked of their sleep on Sunday night, but none said they'd let it affect their match preparation.
Massimo Luongo appears likely to come into the side after playing just half an hour against Saudi Arabia.
Postecoglou said he had been impressed by the young midfielder's form for Queens Park Rangers and was "unlucky not to start" in Jeddah.
"When he came on again, as he did in the UAE, he really drove us forward. He's flying," he said.
"I've watched QPR the last couple of weeks and he's really going well and he's another that can score."
Jackson Irvine is also a chance to come into the team given Jedinak's fitness concern.
Alternatively, Mark Milligan could be shifted into midfield after turning out at right-back against Saudi Arabia, allowing a defender to come into the side.
Postecoglou said he had plenty of options.
"We've got some good depth. We've got Jackson ... every camp he comes in stronger and this camp he looks even more confident and stronger than last," he said.
"A midfielder who can score goals, they're the underlying things we're looking at going forward. That for us is pretty exciting."