Aussies unhappy with training pitch

JOHANNESBURG - Australia's World Cup squad are unhappy about the quality of the training pitch they will move to ahead of their first group D match and are considering using a new ground.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek said on Friday the field at the Ruimsig stadium, near Johannesburg, had deteriorated over the past year.

"We are thinking, of course, about plan B and plan C but let's see first tomorrow how it looks," he told reporters ahead of a warmup match against the United States to be played at the ground.

Australia move to a new base just outside the city after the friendly and will train at Ruimsig following 10 days at a Johannesburg school.

They face Germany in their first group game on June 12, and then play Ghana (June 19) and Serbia (June 23).

Verbeek said a change of venue would be good for the team and could help their mental preparations before the crucial Germany match. However, he said he hoped the training pitch would hold up.

"When I was here last year it was fantastic already so I don't know what has happened," he said. "On the other hand it is just 10 days...I'm not so sure we will destroy the pitch in 10 days but if that's the case I think we will have to find another place."

Midfielder Brett Emerton will miss Saturday's friendly due to injury worries but is expected to be back in full training next week while Harry Kewell will be on the bench and may play after a long recovery from a groin strain.

Verbeek said he hoped to have all 23 players fit before June 12, including Emerton.

"I am not concerned at all, I am just taking no risk for the player (Emerton). He is too important for us, we have three tough games in qualification so I want him fit next week," he said.

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