Socceroo Ivan Franjic’s chances of playing in the Asian Cup final have improved with scans clearing the defender of any serious injury.
Franjic underwent scans on Thursday, for what team hierarchy said was a hip-related problem.
Despite being cleared of a serious issue, Franjic remains in a battle to prove his fitness for the decider against South Korea in Sydney on Saturday night.
He clutched at the left side of his groin when hurt during Tuesday night’s semi-final win against the United Arab Emirates in Newcastle.
Franjic has been a mainstay, one of few Socceroos to play every minute of every game in the tournament so far.
The right-back has provided consistent drive along the flank and, if ruled out of the final, presents coach Ange Postecoglou with a major problem.
The only other specialist right-back in the Australian squad, Aston Villa’s Chris Herd, has returned to England for treatment on his tournament-ending Achilles injury.
One option could be to switch centre-back Trent Sainsbury to the flank, with Alex Wilkinson taking the central defensive post.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Sainsbury said.
“They can put me in goal if they want to. I’m not fussed, I’ll go out there and do the job that I’m told.
“I have played there a few times … I just have to adjust and do what the coach tells me.”