Australia coach Ange Postecoglou ruled attacker Mathew Leckie out of World Cup qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.
Leckie has been battling a respiratory illness that has prevented him from flying out of Germany in time for Thursday’s clash with Kyrgyzstan in Canberra.
In his pre-match news conference on Wednesday, Postecoglou confirmed the FC Ingolstadt man would miss the qualifiers.
“He’s out for both,” he said.
“He’s picked up some sort of bug and infection which meant he was unable to fly.
“We had a deadline of yesterday and he was still unable to get on a plane so he was ruled out.”
Leckie joins defender Matthew Spiranovic (calf) as withdrawals from the 23-man squad for the back-to-back qualifiers.
In good news though, Postecoglou said goalkeeper Mat Ryan and left-back Jason Davidson were both fit and available for selection.
Ryan has completed just four training sessions since recovering from knee surgery, which sidelined him for more than two months, while Davidson has battled a calf injury since arriving in the nation’s capital.
Even with the two omissions and concerns over the fitness of a handful of other players, Postecoglou was unfazed.
“The work that we’ve done over the last two years means I’m not nearly as stressed about injuries as I was previously,” he said.
“The guys that are here are in good condition and in good form. Apart from Josh Risdon and James Meredith, all have had good experience at international level so I’m a lot more comfortable.
“To be honest our last performance [a 2-0 loss to Jordan] wasn’t that great so I would have made changes anyway.
“I’m certainly not losing any sleep over the players that aren’t here. I’m comfortable the XI we put out tomorrow will deal with the task at hand.”
One of the players Postecoglou can call on is skipper Mile Jedinak, who arrives in camp off limited game time for Crystal Palace.
Asked how much petrol he had in the tank for Thursday, Jedinak said: “A full tank.
“I got through the game physically very well and pulled up pretty good so I’m very confident in all the work I’ve been doing that I’ll be in a good state.”
The visitors have their own issues, with coach Aleksandr Krestinin confirming dangerous wingers Mirlan Murzaev and Anton Zemlianukhin would both miss the clash through injury.
“Our team in the last match didn’t really seem weaker than [Australia],” the coach said.
“The Australian team has lots of titles and achievements; no-one can take that away from them.”
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