Matildas get some some big names back
MATILDAS coach Alen Stajcic has restored several key senior internationals to his squad for next month's Asian Cup.
Kyah Simon, Emily Gielnik, Steph Catley and Hayley Raso were all named in a 23-woman squad despite missing the Algarve Cup with injury.
They have been named without final medical assessments, which will take place in Perth this week ahead of a preparatory friendly with Thailand next Monday.
The four haven't played since the W-League finals but have been given every chance by Stajcic to take part in the Jordan-hosted continental championships, which double as World Cup qualifiers.
"There is plenty at stake,” Stajcic said.
Australia must finish in the top five at the eight-nation competition to reach the 2019 World Cup in France.
Caitlin Foord (foot) and Amy Harrison (knee) are already missing the tournament through injury.
Stajcic has until the day of the first match, against South Korea on April 8, to name a final squad.
Sam Kerr headlines the group, with regular strikers Lisa De Vanna and Michelle Heyman in tow.
Mainstays Clare Polkinghorne, Lydia Williams, Katrina Gorry, Emily Van Egmond and Elise Kellond-Knight will play crucial roles in the campaign.
Aivi Luik returns to the national team after three years out. It follows a stellar campaign for W-League powerhouses Melbourne City.
Champions City and premiers Brisbane both provide six players to the squad.
Matches with Vietnam and Japan round out Australia's group.
"We have a good fortnight in Perth before we head to Jordan, which allows us to prepare for the tournament in ideal conditions,” Stajcic said.
"Looking to the tournament, we certainly do not underestimate any of our opposition.
"The Korea Republic have made great improvements in recent times and Japan are the defending champions, so there will be definitely no complacency on our part.”
Australia won the tournament in 2010 and was defeated in the 2014 final on penalties to Japan.
Australia squad for the Women's Asian Cup
Goalkeepers: Lydia Williams, Mackenzie Arnold, Casey Dumont.
Defenders: Caitlin Cooper, Clare Polkinghorne, Laura Alleway, Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Alanna Kennedy, Ellie Carpenter.
Midfielders: Aivi Luik, Emily van Egmond, Chloe Logarzo, Hayley Raso, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Tameka Butt.
Forwards: Lisa De Vanna, Emily Gielnik, Kyah Simon, Sam Kerr, Larissa Crummer, Michelle Heyman.