Australia's second string get a chance to impress coach Pim Verbeek in tomorrow's AFC Asian Cup qualifier in Kuwait with a place at next year's finals within touching distance.
With the game falling outside of FIFA's international calendar, Verbeek is left with only Craig Moore and Luke Wilkshire who are considered regulars.N He does welcome eight overseas-based players but the likes of Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill who featured in November's back-to-back wins over Oman are absent.
Australia are currently level on points with Kuwait at the top of Group B with two games remaining and Oman three points adrift in third. Oman travel to Jakarta to face Indonesia, who are a further point off the pace, with both teams needing a win to keep their hopes alive.
"The game against Kuwait is not an official FIFA date so you have to request the players from the clubs," said Verbeek. "We only need one victory to qualify for the finals, but the game against Kuwait will be a very difficult game. Kuwait are an organised and unpredictable side and they are a strong team as they showed in Canberra in the first game."
Kuwait are an organised and unpredictable side and they are a strong team as they showed in Canberra in the first game.
Midfielder Jason Culina is absent after suffering a knee injury meaning Wilkshire will likely shift into a defensive midfield position. Kuwait beat a domestic-based Australia in Canberra at the start of the campaign and Goran Tufegdzic's side also know a win would help them take a big step towards the Qatar next year.
Tufegdzic, who saw his side warm up for the game with a 2-0 win over a Romania reserves team at a training camp in Egypt, will be without the services of suspended midfielder Walied Ali.
"The game against Australia will be decisive and crucial for us," said Serbian Tufegdzic. "We are now in the penultimate stage of the qualifiers and the situation is complicated in the group. All the teams have the chance to qualify and they are hoping to advance to the finals. We will fight for our chance to qualify, especially as we are now at the top of the group."
Needing to record a first win of the campaign to remain in the hunt for a finals berth Indonesia are set to be without striker Budi Sudarsono, who scored the opener in the 1-1 draw with Kuwait in November, while defender Muhammad Ridwan is battling an ankle injury.
Defenders Ismed Sofyan, who was sent-off against Kuwait, and Maman Abdurahman are also both suspended with coach Benny Dollo calling up Djayusman Triasdi, Christian Warobay and Muhammad Roby as defensive cover, while goalkeeper Achmad Kurniawan and striker Boaz Solossa are also included in the squad.
Third-placed Oman, who suffered back-to-back defeats by Australia in November, warmed up for the match with a goalless draw with Singapore last week.