SOCCEROOS coach Ange Postecoglou is banking on the imposing figure of returning skipper Mile Jedinak to provide the necessary resolve Australia need to emerge unscathed from the daunting Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano on Saturday.
Jedinak's presence, and the potential involvement of magic man Tim Cahill despite an ankle injury, is the tonic the Socceroos need to start their two-legged World Cup qualifying playoff against Honduras on the right note.
Stalwart Cahill remains high on Postecoglou's selection radar as he continues to increase his training workload.
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Postecoglou took Australia's latest session behind closed doors after 15 minutes in San Pedro Sula as tactical preparations stepped up for the first-leg battle in front of a 40,000-strong Honduran crowd that will do all they can to provide an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors.
The experience of both Jedinak and Cahill, who hurt his ankle in Melbourne City's 1-0 loss to Sydney FC last Friday, will be crucial to the Socceroos' hopes of returning to Sydney in a strong position for Wednesday night's second leg.
Postecoglou stressed Cahill would not have made the long trip to Honduras if he was no chance of playing some type of role on Saturday.
"There's no fitness test, he'll train (on Friday Australian time) and if he's right, he's right, and if he's not, he's not," Postecoglou said.
"At the moment, medicos are telling me that he's going fine and he's a chance …. If he wasn't a chance then he wouldn't have been here."
Jedinak's return from a groin injury that has sidelined him from Socceroos duty since June is timely considering the suspension from the first leg of fellow midfielder Mark Milligan.
Despite the Aston Villa hardman being underdone, the Socceroos can let him loose on Saturday, knowing that if he can't back up on Wednesday, Milligan will again be available.
"It's good to have him (Jedinak) here … both from a leadership perspective and also a playing perspective. He brings a real presence to the game," Postecoglou said.
"The last 12 months have been a bit of a grind for him from a physical standpoint. He's always soldiered up and put in a massive shift for us.
"He's feeling really good and he'll want to play as a big a role as he possibly can. We'll see how he gets through the game and we'll make the decision (on the second leg)."
Jedinak admitted he found it tough to watch as the Socceroos' failed to secure an automatic World Cup berth in his absence after finishing third in their Asian Football Confederation qualifying group.
"It's never easy … one of the bigger things is not being around the group environment," Jedinak said.
"As much as you like to help out and follow, it's not the same. You're not there, you can't be out there on the pitch, you can't necessarily gauge what the mood is like.
"That's been a tricky part. Sometimes it's not meant to be easy. It shouldn't be easy. You should always want to love playing the game and being out there on the pitch.
"For me, it's no different. I'm very grateful and looking forward to the part I'll have to play."