Striker Adam Taggart will make his Socceroos’ return against Jordan on Wednesday morning as Australia bids for a perfect AFC second-round World Cup qualifying campaign.
Due to a groin problem, former Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar marksman Taggart has not played in any of the Socceroos’ previous three matches in the Kuwait bubble where Group B is being completed.
However, the 28-year-old forward, who now plies his trade in Japan with Cerezo Osaka, has recovered and will get some much-needed game time.
Whether it’s from the start will perhaps show where Taggart – who has scored six times in 11 Socceroos appearances – sits in Australia’s attacking pecking order, with coach Graham Arnold promising to play his best possible team after rotating players in the squad’s first three matches in the condensed block of games.
“(Taggart) came into camp with a bit of a niggle, but the medical team and (high performance coach) Andrew Clark have done a great job getting him ready for this game,” Arnold said.
“You will see Adam Taggart at some stage during the game.
“It’s just a question of whether he starts or comes on, but he’s in much better shape now and he’s ready to go, so he will get game time.”
Arnold is desperate for the Socceroos, who have already sealed their progress to the next stage of qualifiers, to finish their Group B campaign in style.
“We will put our strongest team out expecting to win the game,” he said.
“We’ve got great talent in this squad and we’ve got great depth now.
“It’s been something that I’ve been working on for two and half, three years, to create that depth in each position, so there will be changes.”
Australia’s most recent game was their 3-0 win over Nepal on Saturday morning.
Perhaps the most obvious change will be the return of first-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who hasn’t played in the Socceroos’ past two matches.
Defender Trent Sainsbury is another likely inclusion provided he’s not hampered by a back issue that caused him problems earlier in the camp.
“We’re aiming to win eight games in this group … 24 points” Arnold said.
“There are only two other nations in Asia that are doing that at this moment in Japan and Syria, and that’s what our expectations are, to win this game.
“It’s all about us and improvement in our performance. We go into this game very confident.”
Australia v Jordan
Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium
Live: Fox Sports and Kayo