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Defenders 'auditioning' for Neill's role

20 March 2013

Australia's defenders are desperate to prove they can cover for suspended captain Lucas Neill in the Socceroos' 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman on 26 March.

Michael Thwaite, Jade North, Mark Milligan, Rhys Williams and Ryan McGowan are all in contention to replace Neill.

Middlesbrough captain Williams said the squad's training camp is serving as an audition for the pivotal defensive position.

Asked if Neill's absence provided a big opportunity, the 24-year-old replied: "I'd like to think so."

But Williams was reluctant to state a preferred position.

"I always say on the pitch is my main one," he said.

"There's a lot of good players here and I just need to fight for a position and hopefully if I do get the nod I can show the boss that I'm ready.

"A lot goes down to training so hopefully I can train well over the next week and we'll go from there."

Melbourne Victory's Milligan echoed Williams's emphasis on the importance of proving himself to coach Holger Osieck over the coming days.

"Holger has shown, the last couple of years, firstly he'll pick his squad but if you do well in camp then you're always a chance at getting some game time," he said.

"Since I've been back in the Socceroos he's mainly called me back in as a midfielder.

"You know there's also plenty of centre backs here in the camp so we'll just have to wait and see what happens."

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