Mile Jedinak gets vital minutes at Aston Villa ahead of Honduras clash
For the first time since April, Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak has managed two matches in a week, returning to action for club side Aston Villa.
Jedinak made another substitute appearance as Villa earned a 2-0 away win over Preston North End in the Championship.
Ange Postecoglou's crucial midfield man came on in the 67th minute, helping to ice a result that lifts Villa to fifth in the standings.
But more importantly for Australian fans, it shows Jedinak's preparedness to take the field in the Socceroos' World Cup playoff with Honduras.
He has missed Australia's last eight fixtures after playing the pivotal role of midfield anchor in the previous six.
Villa's patience with the 33-year-old appears to have brought a dividend for the national team.
Jedinak played through the pain of a chronic groin injury last season, but has been stripped back of playing responsibilities this term after he being ruled out of Australia's Confederations Cup campaign.
He will have one further chance to tune up for next Friday's clash with Honduras on the weekend, when Villa host Sheffield Wednesday.
Postecoglou's squad will then begin to assemble in San Pedro Sula for the do-or-die fixture with the Central Americans.
Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones was also in action on Wednesday, keeping goal in Feyenoord's 3-1 European Champions League loss to Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Dutch-based custodian, who has been overlooked by Postecoglou despite winning the Eredivisie last season, has the lowest save percentage of regular goalkeepers in the elite European competition.