Football 2 years ago

Gersbach or Geria set for Socceroos debut

  • Gersbach or Geria set for Socceroos debut

    DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 20: Alexander Gersbach of Australia runs with the bal during the AFC U-23 Championship Group D match between Jordan and Australia at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium on January 20, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Alex Gersbach or Jason Geria are set to make their Socceroos debut in the first friendly with Greece, as part of a starting line-up also featuring Trent Sainsbury and Nathan Burns.

Coach Ange Postecoglou will shuffle his squad in Australia's double assignment in Sydney and Melbourne, his last opportunity to build depth before September's gruelling final phase of World Cup qualifying.

As the only uncapped players in camp, Rosenborg BK left-back Gersbach and Melbourne Victory right-back Geria will both get a run - just not in the same match.

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Which of the defensive youngsters faces world No.37 Greece at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night might come down to geography, with former Sydney FC player Gersbach born and bred in Sydney and Canberra-born Geria based in Melbourne with Victory.

There are others the coach wants to cast his eye over.

"Chris Ikonomidis has been around the group for a while but hasn't really had a decent crack at it - Milos (Degenek) who we've brought in for the camp now that Spira (Matthew Spiranovic) is out," he said.

"I want to give them some decent time."

The big question will be whether Greek-born striker Apostolos Giannou spearheads the Socceroos' attack.

The 26-year-old, who played a friendly for Greece late last year before switching allegiance, made a solid debut for Australia in March's 7-0 World Cup qualifying win over Tajikistan.

"I don't want him to go into a World Cup campaign with only one game or limited time so, if we can give him the maximum amount of time over the next couple of games, that's going to help us," Postecoglou said.

"They're the key guys but, not discounting that, we still want to put out two strong teams we think will maintain the levels we have so far."

More-experienced faces will add support, with Burns to feature up front and Sainsbury to resume his central defensive role filled by midfielder Mark Milligan in last weekend's 2-1 loss to England.

Postecoglou confirmed everyone was fit including Tim Cahill, who revealed he was carrying a small hamstring issue but trained on Wednesday and Thursday.

However centre-back Bailey Wright sat out Thursday's session, understood to have pulled up sore from the England game despite completing training on Wednesday with no issues.

Greece's results have slipped since winning the 2004 European Championships, not making the cut for Euro 16.

But Postecoglou, who was born in Athens, observed recent changes to their usual defensive approach under manager Michael Skibbe.

"In the last four games, it seems like they're a lot more aggressive, particularly in defence," he said.

"They push on a bit, unlike Greek teams of the past, which were just hard to break down.

"They still are, but it looks like (Skibbe) wants them to push on and be more aggressive.

"It'll be a good test for us, which is what we need."

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