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Australian Football: Maclaren backs new boys to shine

Socceroos strike ace Jamie Maclaren is backing the new players coming in to the squad to step up to the plate for the crucial World Cup qualifying double-header.

The Socceroos are priced at 500/1 to win the World Cup later this year but need to beat both Japan and Saudi Arabia to guarantee their place in the finals.

Injury issues

Coach Graham Arnold has been forced to call up a number of fresh faces as injuries have bitten into his squad ahead of Thursday’s clash with Japan.

Aaron Mooy, Riley McGree, Adam Taggart, Tom Rogic, Jackson Irvine and Mathew Leckie are either missing or doubtful but Maclaren believes the Socceroos are still in safe hands.

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"The boys that are coming in are top players as well," Maclaren told Sky Sports radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, "They're there for a reason. Thursday night can't come around quick enough.

"We've got a great squad and a lot of guys who can change the game in the heat of the moment. Really looking forward to Thursday, it's going to be a cracker."

Wedding date

Meanwhile Maclaren himself will be missing for the second clash against Saudi Arabia as it falls on his wedding day which has been in the diary for the last 12 months.

"I can't change the date and the venue hold the money and at the same time my partner has sacrificed a lot as well,” Maclaren added. "It's a tough position to be in but I'm here focused, ready for the Japan game."

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