Kennedy and Garcia will not be risked against Bahrain
Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek will not risk striker Josh Kennedy and midfielder Richard Garcia for Wednesday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bahrain at ANZ Stadium , after the pair pulled up sore after the long flight from Bahrain.
Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek will not risk striker Josh Kennedy and midfielder Richard Garcia for Wednesday night-s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bahrain at ANZ Stadium , after the pair pulled up sore after the long flight from Bahrain.
The short turnaround time, from arriving home on Monday afternoon to the game on Wednesday night, basically meant it was impossible for the pair to recover in time to play. Both though are expected to be okay for the following weeks clash with Japan in Melbourne.
Kennedy played the full game on Sunday morning against Qatar and a mixture of the heat conditions on his body and his lanky 194cm frame, saw him pull up sore after landing in Sydney.
Garcia, despite only being on the field for a few minutes against Qatar, will miss the match after his knee, which he had some minor work on a month ago, swelled up slightly during the flight.
Verbeek also revealed that he has a question mark over Chris Coyne, but will wait to see his condition after training. Coyne copped a knock late in the game.
If Coyne is unable to play, it means Verbeek will have to go in with a completely new backline to the one that started on Sunday, with Captain Lucas Neill (suspended) and Scott Chipperfield (injury) already ruled out. Jason Culina, who started at right back is likely to move back into the midfield with regular right back Luke Wilkshire back from suspension, while David Carney is already pencilled in for Chipperfield-s left back position.
Verbeek though is not overly concerned and has faith in potential replacements Jade North, Mark Milligan and Matthew Spiranovic to do a job.
“I have a small question mark about Chris Coyne, so I will see at the training session today if Chris is ready to play.
“That-s absolutely true,” he said when asked about having such an inexperienced backline.
“But okay Jade North has played more than enough games, that-s the same for Mark Milligan and (Matthew) Spiranovic, so one of those three players will pick up that spot instead of Lucas and if Coyney is not fit then it will be two of the three.
“We still have Adrian Madaschi, but I don-t think I will take that risk, because he is with the squad for the first time.
“I am not worried, they can do a job; every player can do a job in my selection.”
Verbeek said that everybody else was fit and that he would pick his strongest available side, with the likes of Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Vince Grella and Mark Schwarzer all available.
“I want to start with players who can play 90 minutes; I am not going to play with half fit players.
“We want to make it a good game; we want to win the game; we want to play at our best and I am 100% sure when the boys go out onto the field and they see the fans there and they are going to want to see them play at their best also.”
One of the biggest problems for Verbeek is perhaps getting the players minds on the job after already qualifying for next years World Cup with two games in hand.
“The first thing we will do when we go out onto the field today, will be to say to the boys to forget about South Africa and to concentrate on the game tomorrow. Forget about tirednesss; forget about trips; forget about World Cup, just think about the game.
“I am sure when they come into the stadium, they will be more than focused on the game tomorrow. Japan of course is a big game and an interesting game, but it-s the same tomorrow.
As for Bahrain, Verbeek knows they will be up for the challenge, given they still have a lot to play for , needing just a single point from it-s final two games to secure the play-off berth and keep its World Cup hopes alive.
“I think they will first try to get a point; they will play more on the counter-attack probably and wait till half time.
“I-m not sure what time Japan [v Qatar] is playing. But if they can get three points [against Australia] then they are there already, so it-s a big game for them also.
“We know they have some suspended players and injured players also. We will show the players how we think they are going to play tonight [at training] and tell the players individually tomorrow what I expect of every player in his position.”
Verbeek urged fans to come out and celebrate the teams qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, with Wednesday-s match the perfect opportunity to show their appreciation to the team and likewise the players to the fans.
Tickets for the match at ANZ Stadium are still available from Ticketek.