Jedinak included in Socceroos play-off squad despite fitness concerns
Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has been included in Australia's 30-man squad for their upcoming inter-confederation World Cup play-off against Honduras, despite question marks over his fitness.
An ongoing groin injury has sidelined Jedinak, forcing the 33-year-old midfielder to miss the two-legged AFC World Cup qualifying clash against Syria earlier in October.
However, Jedinak – who has been restricted to just 46 minutes of Championship action for Aston Villa having also sat out the Confederations Cup in June – is in the mix to face CONCACAF side Honduras on November 10 and 15.
Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou – who could reportedly step down even if Australia reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia – has retained 22 of the 23 players who were involved in the play-off victory against Syria.
The only player missing is Bournemouth left-back Brad Smith due to a hip injury sustained early in the extra-time win over Syria in Sydney on October 10, with Alex Gersbach, Ajdin Hrustic, James Jeggo, Awer Mabil and Jamie Maclaren joining the preliminary squad.
The 30-player squad for next month’s winner takes all Play-off against Honduras is in.
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) October 25, 2017
"There are a couple of weeks before the group gets together so we will be monitoring the health and fitness of every player to make sure that the final 23 are available for what is going to be a challenging couple of games," said Postecoglou.
"We feel that we are right on schedule with regards to our arrangements, logistics and intelligence for Honduras, and are comfortable that the work completed and decisions made so far will help us in our quest to qualify for Russia.
"A large, vocal home crowd in Sydney for the second leg is something that everyone involved with the squad is looking forward to."
The first leg is in San Pedro Sula on November 10 before the Socceroos welcome Honduras to Sydney five days later.
Mark Birighitti (NAC Breda), Mitchell Langerak (Levante), Mathew Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Danny Vukovic (Genk); Aziz Behic (Bursaspor), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F. Marinos), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Mathew Jurman (Suwon Bluewings), Ryan McGowan (Al-Sharjah), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning), Bailey Wright (Bristol City); Mustafa Amini (AGF Aarhus), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen), Jackson Irvine (Hull City), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Awer Mabil (Pacos de Ferreira), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Tom Rogic (Celtic), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory); Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Robbie Kruse (Bochum), Tomi Juric (Luzern), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa)