More air miles for Coyne

CHRIS Coyne has been rattling up the air miles in recent weeks, and Colchester United's club skipper will be on his travels again this weekend.Coyne has been included in Australia's 24-man squad to play Bahrain in the Socceroos' latest World Cup qualifier, to be staged in Manama on Wednesday, November 19.

Carl Marston

CHRIS Coyne has been rattling up the air miles in recent weeks, and Colchester United's club skipper will be on his travels again this weekend.

Coyne has been included in Australia's 24-man squad to play Bahrain in the Socceroos' latest World Cup qualifier, to be staged in Manama on Wednesday, November 19.

But he will not be missing any Colchester games because of his international commitments this time. The ex-Luton defender not be flying out until after the U's home game against Walsall this Saturday, and will return a couple of days before the following weekend's game at Peterborough.

Centre-half Coyne has struggled for form in the U's set-up this term, and is currently battling to overcome a calf strain incurred during the early stages of the 3-3 draw at Southend last Saturday week.

But while he has been in and out of team for his club side, he has become a regular feature of Australia's national squad - he has made five appearances to date.

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“I got a text to say that I was in the squad again, but at least I won't be missing any games this time. I'll be flying back after the match on Wednesday (week),” confirmed Coyne last night.

“I've got over the calf problem. It was one of those where I took the risk to play at Southend, because I had actually picked up the injury in training the day before. But I had also taken a couple of knocks, so I thought it might just be sore from that instead.

“I had a long run into the corner early in the Southend game, when I felt the calf, so I had to come off. I had a scan, which showed that I had only suffered a slight tear, and it's all OK now. In fact, I'm back in training already.

“I hope to be involved against Walsall, and will be on the plane after that game,” added Coyne.

Coyne's last trip to the other side of the world was a frustrating one. Although Australia beat Qatar 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Brisbane, to leave them on top of their group, the U's stalwart was only an unused substitute.

And there is no guarantee that the 29-year-old will see any action this time. Craig Moore, who came out of international retirement to play in central defence against Qatar, is again expected to start against Bahrain. Moore is the only Hyundai A-League player in the squad.

Australia boss Pim Verbeek revealed: “It's a completely different preparation than what we had last time against Qatar, because we have players coming on Sunday and Monday and some on Tuesday.

“No training sessions, just recovery sessions. We'll see how fit the players are, especially in Europe and we'll see how many players will be available for the final 18.”

Meanwhile, the U's will be featured in a live game on Sky Sports in the new year, following a number of appearances during their two years in the Championship.

The U's away game at MK Dons will be screened live on Monday, January 12 (kick-off 7.45pm), having been moved from the Saturday.

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