Matt McKay is confident Australia can cope without injured captain Mile Jedinak in World Cup qualifying against Bangladesh and Tajikistan.
The 2015 Asian Cup winners will not be able to call on their skipper for the Group B matches in Perth on Thursday and Dushanbe five days later after the rugged holding player suffered a hamstring injury in Crystal Palace’s League Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town last week.
Jedinak is not the only player who has been forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury, with forwards Tomi Juric and Robbie Kruse – of Roda JC and Bayer Leverkusen respectively – also pulling out.
Lazio youngster Chris Ikonomidis, Heidenheim forward Ben Halloran and Brisbane Roar midfielder Luke Brattan have been selected as their replacements.
McKay, Brattan’s captain and club colleague at the three-time A-League champions, believes head coach Ange Postecoglou will benefit from his concerted attempts at expanding the pool of players at the national team’s disposal.
“We’ve got some guys that have missed out on this squad that are regulars,” McKay said.
“Obviously they will come back in. Some other guys have been given chances for this camp.
“We need that depth and Ange has been quite strong in getting the depth up the last few years.
“Everyone is on their toes and really looking forward to impressing and getting some game-time.”
Australia followed up their Asian Cup triumph on home soil in January with an impressive performance in a 2-2 friendly draw with Germany in March.
Their first competitive outing since winning major silverware saw Postecoglou’s men have to fight hard to secure a 2-1 win away to lowly Kyrgyzstan in June.
According to McKay, that experience in Bishkek is yet another reason Australia’s players will not be guilty of complacency ahead of matches against lower-ranked opponents.
“There is never any danger of that now,” he said.
“We saw when we played Kyrgyzstan the last game and we saw how good an opponent they were and they tested us immensely. We won’t be taking this one lightly.”
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