You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Jedinak faces last minute UAE fitness test

AAP logoAAP 5/09/2016 By Ben Mckay

Socceroos defender Matt Spiranovic stands ready to make a long-awaited return to the national team as coach Ange Postecoglou awaits a final verdict on captain Mile Jedinak's injury.

Postecoglou will give Jedinak until the very last minute to prove his fitness before facing United Arab Emirates in Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier.

The Australian captain hasn't trained since touching down in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, and is in severe doubt for the match.

The camp hasn't given details of the injury, but Jedinak described it as a knock from Thursday night's 2-0 win over Iraq.

Postecoglou has until two hours before the 7.30pm kickoff (1.30am Wednesday AEST) to submit his squad for the UAE match and told reporters he would take the decision down to the wire.

"We'll give him every chance to recover and see whether he's available on game day," he said.

"When we're in camp we understand things even happen on game day where we need to change the line up. That's happened in the past and no one's even known about it.

"We're hoping he'll be ok but if he's not then we'll be able to bring in somebody else to do the job."

Mark Milligan is the obvious candidate to fill Jedinak's boots in defensive midfield, shifting forward after he was deployed usefully in defence against Iraq.

That would clear the way for Spiranovic to take up a place in the heart of defence, the role he played at the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup.

The 28-year-old said he was eager to put a Socceroos shirt back on, having last played for the national team in last October's 2-0 loss to Jordan.

"It's great to be here fit and healthy," he said.

Postecoglou - who counts selection surprises as his stock-in-trade - could also throw Jackson Irvine into Jedinak's role, or deploy Aaron Mooy or Massimo Luongo deeper.

All three play as sitting midfielders for their English Championship clubs.

Spiranovic said he wasn't counting on a return given the depth of competition for the role.

"That's what the boss has been striving for for the last 18 months, two years. Now there's a lot of options and that's good for the team," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon