Cahill in Oz fitness race
Australia coach Holger Osieck will make a late call on Tim Cahill's availability for Saturday's friendly.
Last Updated: 08/10/10 7:03pm
Australia coach Holger Osieck will make a late call on Tim Cahill's availability for Saturday's friendly clash against Paraguay.
Everton midfielder Cahill, who has been battling an ongoing knee injury in recent weeks, came through training on Thursday and remains hopeful of securing a spot in the starting XI.
However, while confident his star player will be match fit, Osieck insists he will not be taking any risks with the 30-year-old.
"As you could see during our week, Tim at the beginning didn't take part in our training because he needed some additional treatment and right now he looks to be okay again," said Osieck.
"I think all the players in the squad are ready to play and so I definitely can pick everybody from the group, but the final decision I will wait until tomorrow morning.
"I'm never a coach who would urge a player to play when I have serious concerns.
"I would never jeopardise the career of a player by playing him which could lead to a deterioration of his injury."
Asked if he would consult Cahill before making his final decision, Osieck replied: "You all know Tim as a person, he is a very ambitious guy.
"He always wants to be there like all the other guys when they are here in Australia and they can play for the Socceroos and play in front of their home crowd.
"Everybody wants to be here, everybody wants to be part of it and that is understandable, but at times you have to make a distinction between emotion and rational (thinking)."
Meanwhile, Osieck has selected Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to take the captain's armband in place of injured regular skipper Lucas Neill.
"From my point of view it's not a very difficult decision to name the captain for tomorrow's game," said Osieck.
"I respect Mark very much as a person and as a player and with all the contribution he has given to the Australian game and what he did for Australia at the international level - and I think he simply deserves to be the captain for tomorrow's game."
Schwarzer, who skippered the Socceroos last August, said of his appointment: "It's always an extremely proud moment for me to captain Australia.
"First and foremost it's very proud for me to play for Australia, that goes without saying, but to have that honour whenever there's an opportunity I'm more than willing to take up that responsibility.
"I've said it many, many times and I'll continue to say it, I love playing at the highest level I love playing for Australia and to have the opportunity to captain is just the icing on the cake."