Clubless David Carney is set to miss out on selection for his country when Australia coach Holger Osieck names his 23-man squad on Wednesday morning for this month’s World Cup qualifier against Iraq.
Carney's abrupt split from Uzbek outfit Bunyodkor, where he was heavily criticised by coach Mirjalol Qosimov and had to lobby hard for unpaid wages and bonuses, has seen him return to England where his management is in negotiations with two Championship clubs with hopes rising that a deal can be done soon to recharge the 28-year-old's career.
In the interim, Carney’s absence looks set to open the door to a possible return to the fold for FC Utrecht’s Michael Zullo, who is back in contention for his club after a bout with injury.
There is also the prospect that fellow Netherlands-based left back, Heracles Almelo’s 21-year-old Jason Davidson - who scored an own goal in his debut against Scotland back in August but impressed nonetheless - could be handed the spot after recovering from a knock sustained playing for his club. The versatile Matt McKay is also an option against Iraq.
"David is back in Manchester and we’re hopeful that he will find a club sooner rather than later. There are a couple of options in the Championship and we’ll see how those pan out," Carney’s British-based representative Tom Brooks said.
Considering he is without a club, it comes as little surprise that Carney, who has 46 caps and was a part of the Australia side embarrassed 2-1 by Jordan side last month, will be overlooked for the the 16 October (17 October AEDT) qualifier against Iraq in Doha.
"The overriding priority now for David is to sort out his future at club level," Brooks said.
Meanwhile, Zullo’s clubmate, converted midfielder Tommy Oar – who has broken back into FC Utrecht’s starting line-up this season – is also a likely Socceroos recall, 20 months after last being selected by his country at the Asian Cup.
Australia is seeking to add some urgency to its spluttering qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup after picking up just two points from three qualifying games so far and the exciting Oar has featured in the last six games for his club.
There seems no end in sight to the Harry Kewell conundrum, with the 34-year-old former Leeds, Liverpool, Galatasaray and Melbourne Victory star still looking for a new club after returning to England and thus out of contention.
Emerging striker Eli Babalj, who scored his first goal for Red Star Belgrade in his league debut at the weekend, may yet have to wait his chance at senior level, though he is now firmly on the radar.