Depleted Australia recall Grella for Japan trip

SYDNEY - Australia coach Pim Verbeek has recalled defensive midfielder Vince Grella to a 22-man provisional squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Japan in Yokohama.

Grella missed Australia's last three qualifiers because of injury but was rushed back after his Blackburn Rovers team mate Brett Emerton hurt his knee on the weekend, ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Striker Harry Kewell was also not named in the squad because of fitness concerns, while midfielder Scott Chipperfield remains in doubt because of a foot problem.

Despite the injury concerns, Verbeek was still able to pick a powerful squad which included only one player from the domestic A-League, Queensland Roar captain Craig Moore.

Australia currently lead Asian Group A standings with nine points from three games, while Japan are second on seven points.

The top two from the five-team pool qualify automatically for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while the third-placed team advances to a playoff.

Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Qatar are the other teams in the group.

Verbeek said he had still not settled on his final line-up and would select the final squad next week, adding that Kewell would be considered if he played for his Turkish club Galatasaray this weekend.

"We have quite some players still playing, midweek games, weekend games, so as always until Tuesday morning we will not know which players are available," Verbeek said.

"It's a big challenge."

Australia squad: Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Chris Coyne, Jason Culina, Adam Federici, Richard Garcia, Vincenzo Grella, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Scott McDonald, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Michael Petkovic, Mark Schwarzer, Shane Stefanutto, Mile Sterjovski, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire