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Australia v Tajikistan: Leckie welcomes new faces

Australia require just four points from their next two games to progress in World Cup qualifying, starting with a home clash against Tajikistan on Thursday.

The Socceroos have had a near flawless campaign to date – a 2-0 loss to second-placed Jordan the only smear on their campaign thus far – and a win in Adelaide would ease the pressure.

But despite being so close to progression, coach Ange Postecoglou is leaving no stone unturned in the search for new talent.

Melbourne Victory full-back Jason Geria, Rosenborg defender Alex Gersbach and Guangzhou R&F striker Apostolos Giannou are all in line for their first caps, with the latter having defected from Greece.

Socceroos mainstay Mathew Leckie is back following his withdrawal from the last squad with illness, and said it was good to see new faces.

“It’s always exciting when there’s a few new guys, a couple of young guys as well and they should get the hang of it real quick,” Leckie told a news conference on Tuesday.

“It’s a new thing for them. I’m sure they will be nervous for the first couple of days which is quite normal.

“My first few camps I was very nervous as well. But we’ve got a great bunch of guys, everyone’s down to earth and very welcoming.

“Hopefully they can get comfortable pretty quick and I’m sure they can help us on the pitch as well.”

The Ingolstadt man is expecting a tough match against the visitors, who Australia defeated 3-0 away from home – a game in which he insists the scoreline was unfair on Tajikistan.

“Remembering the away game there it was pretty tough to score against them, we didn’t open the scoring until the second half,” Leckie said.

“The most important thing is to get a goal early. With all these qualifiers, they’re always difficult opposition.”

Tajikistan are fourth in the group and have no chance of making the next stage of World Cup qualifying.

Tue 22 Mar, 2016
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