Australia have been boosted for this month's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Bahrain by the return from injury of senior players Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano and possibly Vince Grella.
The trio were included in a 24-man squad announced by coach Pim Verbeek on Monday ahead of the 19 November qualifier in Manama.
All three missed Australia's 4-0 home win over Qatar last month, which pitched the unbeaten Socceroos to the top of Group 1 with six points after two games.
Grella was substituted with a hamstring injury in Blackburn Roverss loss to Chelsea in the English Premier League on Sunday and Verbeek said he will wait on further medical advice regarding the midfielder's fitness to travel to Bahrain.
"It doesn't look good. I've put Vince on the list because that's the way it works with FIFA - if I take him off he can't play," Verbeek told reporters here by telephone. But he's one of the players we have big doubts about if he will be available."
Grella's impending loss will be offset somewhat with the return of his Italian-based defensive midfield deputy Carl Valeri from suspension, and the strengthening of the Socceroos' attacking options with Kewell and Bresciano back.
Swiss-based left-sided player Scott Chipperfield was not considered because of injury. Verbeek said Kewell and Bresciano's ability to play as left-sided attackers also eased Chipperfield's loss for him.
"They are fantastic players and they can play on the left side, so although Chipperfield is gone, with Harry back and Bresciano back -- if they are all fit -- I am very happy with my players," he said.
Goalkeeper Adam Federici received a call-up following his recent run of form in the English Championship with Southend, while on loan from Reading.
Defender Craig Moore is the only Australian A-League player selected in the squad after his successful return from international retirement in the Qatar match.
In the other Group A match on Wednesday, Qatar host Japan in Doha, while Uzbekistan have a bye.