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Socceroos coach happy to keep China in the dark

Mile Jedinak of Australia celebrates after he scored a penalty during the 2015 Asian Cup match between the Australian Socceroos and Kuwait at AAMI Park.
Mile Jedinak of Australia celebrates after he scored a penalty during the 2015 Asian Cup match between the Australian Socceroos and Kuwait at AAMI Park. Robert Cianflone

SOCCEROOS coach Ange Postecoglou admits he was never any good at percentages at school, which was why he pursued a football career.

The straight-talking mentor was asked by a Chinese journalist what the chances were of an Australian victory in tonight's Asian Cup quarter-final in Brisbane.

The two-time A-League championship-winning coach had a slight chuckle at the question, before informing the reporter he had no idea.

But what the Socceroos camp is 100% sure of is they will get a reliable performance from Alex Wilkinson in defence.

The former Central Coast Mariners star - now a vital component of Korean team Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' back four, looks the obvious replacement for the suspended Matthew Spiranovic.

Wilkinson, 30, will have his work cut out trying to stop an in-form Chinese team featuring star attacker Sun Ke, who scored a stunning winner against Uzbekistan, also in Brisbane.

Ke then scored a brace against North Korea to ensure a 2-1 victory and give Team Dragon its best start to an Asian Cup.

To keep you updated with all the action APN will be providing a live blog of the game from just before kick-off (7.30pm AEST). The story will be in editors picks on your website.

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak also did not mince his words when asked whether Wilkinson was ready to step up and fill the void left by the classy Spiranovic.

"If Wilko is chosen to play I'm fully confident. Why wouldn't I be? He's my teammate," Jedinak said.

"He's done all the preparation like we all have and he's been working his socks off since he's come into camp.

"All the guys who have missed out recently have been waiting for that opportunity."

Jedinak will also be stepping back into the Australian team after missing his team's past two games with an ankle injury.

"For myself, of course I'm confident. I wouldn't be sitting up here if I wasn't," Jedinak said at yesterday's pre-game press conference.

"I've been really looking forward (to tonight) as much as anybody and I'm going to give my all to the cause.

"I've had a good couple of days getting ready and getting up to speed."

Postecoglou said he had no worries about containing the dangerous Chinese attack, despite his team's depth being tested in the absence of Spiranovic and the injured Chris Herd.

"No, we've got the depth we need. Losing Chris was disappointing, but we've had Jason (Davidson) and Aziz (Behich) share the load, and Trent (Sainsbury) is going really well, and Wilko's ready to go," Postecoglou said.

"At this stage all I can look at is the game before us, and physically all the players are in a good space."

Topics:  asian cup china socceroos


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