WE MUST IMPRESS AGAINST BANGLADESH
ANGE Postecoglou declared that the Socceroos wanted to qualify for Russia 2018 in style and that meant there was no room for experimentation against Bangladesh tonight.
Despite a week overshadowed by a pay dispute between the players’ association and the FFA, a 20,000-crowd is expected at nib Stadium.
Visiting coach Lodewijk de Kruif warned Bangladesh “are not coming here as tourists”, despite being 170th in FIFA rankings.
Postecoglou has promised to pick his best available side, which remains strong despite first XI players Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Ivan Franjic, Mile Jedinak and Robbie Kruse being absent.
“We’ll pick the strongest team to win the game. This qualification process started earlier than usual, it gives us a real good chance to get some growth in the team,’’ he said.
“Just qualifying for the World Cup is not enough. The last two coaches qualified for the World Cup and it wasn’t for them so it won’t be for me.
“We want to qualify as a strong team, so every game is important. Doesn’t matter who the opponent is or where we’re playing, every game is a chance for us to grow as a team and become stronger.
“We’ve got a series of games between now and mid-2017 when we learn whether we’ve qualified or not, and we go to a Confederations Cup, to really build a strong team.
“So the team that goes out on Thursday night will be the team that I think will take us another step forward. It’s not about giving guys a game or trying things, it’s about growth.
“Every game should be an opportunity for us to grow as a team, with the way we play, our outlook, so that when we get to the endpoint, you qualify but qualify with some significance.’’
Tim Cahill, captain in place of injured Jedinak, will lead an in-form three-pronged attack set to comprise Mathew Leckie and Nathan Burns.
All 23 players trained last night and Postecoglou must decide whether to start Celtic attacker Tom Rogic or Matt McKay to partner Massimo Luongo and Mark Milligan in midfield.
Adam Federici and Eugene Galekovic are competing for the No.1 shirt in Ryan and Mitch Langerak’s absence.
“Some guys arrived later than others, some played on the weekend, others didn’t, we’ll have a look at what condition they’re in after (Wednesday) training,’’ Postecoglou said.
“You’ve got to take into account a lot have done different travel in recent days and different loads in recent days and a game in four days with more travel.’’
De Kruif, who is suspended and must coach from the grandstand, denied rumours he was about to be sacked.