Australia national team coach Pim Verbeek is set to announce his 27-man provisional squad for Juneâ€™s World Cup on Tuesday, May 11.
As always, there is plenty of speculation on which players will be chosen, who will be left out and who the hardluck stories will be and here at tribalfootball.com we have tried to predict who will be in Verbeekâ€™s initial squad that he will choose his final 23 from on June 1.
In the goalkeeping stakes, Fulhamâ€™s Mark Schwarzer has a monopoly and will be picked first ahead of Sivassporâ€™s Michael Petkovic and Reading shot-stopper Adam Federici as Middlesbroughâ€™s Brad Jones and Adelaide United star Eugene Galekovic miss out.
Australian defenders are few and far between at the moment so Verbeek will have to use all of his cunning and guile to take a compliment of both central defenders and attacking wingers to South Africa.
Captain Lucas Neill is an obvious selection as is veteran centre-back Craig Moore who is currently without a club. Dinamo Moscowâ€™s Luke Wilkshire is an automatic selection at right-back, FC Baselâ€™s Scott Chipperfield will play on the left and Mark Milligan is versatile and will be picked. Melbourne Heart recruit Simon Colosimo should be taken as he enjoyed a stellar season in the A-League with Sydney FC whilst Tromsoâ€™s Jade North and Urawa Reds loanee Matthew Spiranovic will be included but one of these two is likely to miss out on the final cut.
In the centre of the pitch, Everton star Tim Cahill is first picked but then there comes a logjam of sort.
Blackburn Rovers duo Brett Emerton and Vince Grella are definite inclusions as is Palermoâ€™s Mark Bresciano despite the fact he has an ongoing back injury. AZ Alkmaarâ€™s Brett Holman will get the nod along with Gold Coast United skipper Jason Culina whilst Crystal Palaceâ€™s Nick Carle, Antalysaporâ€™s Mile Jedinak, Duisburg loanee Dario Vidosic and Sassuoloâ€™s Carl Valeri should all make the list of 27.
Up forward, Galatasaray star Harry Kewell and Nagoya Grampusâ€™ Josh Kennedy will be relied upon for goals as Middlesbroughâ€™s Scott McDonald will get his chance to finally break his international scoring duck. Speedy FC Twente youngster Nikita Rukavytsya, who is on loan at Roeselare in Belgium, has to be included whilst Beijing Guoan frontman Joel Griffiths and Sydney FCâ€™s Alex Brosque will make up the squad.
Predicted 27-man Socceroos squad
Lucas Neill (Galatasaray, Turkey)
Craig Moore (without club, training in Australia)
Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow, Russia)
Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel, Switzerland)
Mark Milligan (JEF United, Japan)
Simon Colosimo (Melbourne Heart, Australia)
Jade North (Tromso, Norway)
Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Reds, Japan â€“ on loan from Nuremberg, Germany)*
Tim Cahill (Everton, England)
Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers, England)
Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers, England)
Mark Bresciano (Palermo, Italy)
Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar, Holland)
Jason Culina (Gold Coast United, Australia)
Nick Carle (Crystal Palace, England)
Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor, Turkey â€“ on loan from Genclerbirligi, Turkey)
Dario Vidosic (Duisburg, Germany â€“ on loan from Nuremberg, Germany)*
Carl Valeri (Sassuolo, Italy)*
Harry Kewell (Galatasaray, Turkey)
Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus, Japan)
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough, England)
Nikita Rukavytsya (Roeselare, Belgium â€“ on loan from FC Twente, Holland)
Joel Griffiths (Beijing Guoan, China)
Alex Brosque (Sydney FC, Australia)*
*denotes likely to miss out on final cut