24 May 2010

Herbert picks Bahrain lineup for Socceroos match

11:21 am on 24 May 2010

The All Whites coach Ricki Herbert has kept faith with the lineup that qualified New Zealand for the World Cup finals for tonight's friendly with Australia in the Melbourne.

The only change from the starting lineup that beat Bahrain 1-0 in Wellington last November is the inclusion of the experienced midfielder Simon Elliott in the starting XI ahead of Michael McGlinchy.

Herbert named the same starting lineup that drew with Bahrain in the away leg at Manama in the final qualifying series. Elliott missed the final World Cup qualifier because of injury.

The uncapped defender Winston Reid is poised to make his international debut alongside the squad's other newcomer, Canterbury midfielder Aaron Clapham.

Herbert is able to make six substitutions during the match.

And the All Whites feel there can only be positives that can come out of the friendly at the MCG, the first of four matches in their buildup to next month's Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

Phoenix midfielder Tim Brown says while players were still joining them just a matter of days ago, the whole squad has come together really well.

Brown says there's a great feel about the squad at the moment and there's a quiet confidence at the massive challenges ahead.

He says they're ready for tonight's game, the signs are positive, the culture's well embedded in this group and there's competition for places.