Pim Verbeek, already missing Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill, has new player availability problems ahead of four FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers in June.
Verbeek said he has potential concerns with skipper and West Ham United defender Lucas Neill and German-based striker Josh Kennedy, whose partners are expecting to give birth next month. Verbeek said two other players - Derby County winger Mile Sterjovski and midfielder Jacob Burns - are in the same situation.
"They all are expecting babies with their partners during June, so I won't know for certain when they will able to play," Verbeek told a teleconference from The Netherlands on Thursday.
The Socceroos are playing Ghana in Sydney on 23 May as a warm-up before their four FIFA World Cup group qualifiers against Iraq (twice), Qatar and China during June.
Verbeek said Newcastle United striker Viduka is struggling with an Achilles problem and will not be selected in his expanded squad for the five matches.
"Viduka is positive about playing in the World Cup and has a club contract running through until 2010, but he has been struggling with an Achilles problem and it's not getting any better," Verbeek said. "Viduka won't be selected for the World Cup qualifiers next month as he considers whether to have end-of-season surgery."
Everton's goalscoring midfielder Tim Cahill is in Sydney to undergo foot surgery and is planning on a return in time for the next European season in August. Verbeek has spent the weeks since Australia's scoreless draw with China in Kunming on 26 March meeting with European-based players and their clubs checking on their national team availability.
He said Liverpool's Harry Kewell and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had indicated they will be fit and available to play in the Ghana warm-up and fifa World Cup games.
"The question with the European-based players is how fit they will be after their club commitments are completed later this month," Verbeek said. "If everybody is fit I will have no problems at all, but I'll just have to wait until the final games of the Euro leagues to be sure."
Australia's next FIFA World Cup qualifier will be against AFC Asian Cup champions Iraq in Brisbane on 1 June.