Socceroos attackers Leckie, Maclaren sweat on injuries

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold faces more headaches ahead of January's Asian Cup, with Mathew Leckie suffering a hamstring injury and Melbourne City teammate Jamie Maclaren managing an ankle issue.

Leckie limped off in the 61st minute of City's 1-1 Asian Champions League draw with Zhejiang FC on Tuesday night holding his right hamstring.

He was replaced by Maclaren, who was being load-managed as he attempts to play through an ankle concern.

Jamie Maclaren
Jamie Maclaren was only fit enough to feature from the bench for Melbourne City against Zhejiang.

Leckie's injury came two days after goalkeeper Mat Ryan suffered a fractured cheekbone in training that cast doubt over his involvement in Qatar.

Brandon Borrello (foot) and Ryan Strain (groin) have already been ruled out, while Riley McGree (foot) and Nathaniel Atkinson (ankle) are also racing the clock ahead of Australia's opening match against India on January 13.

Leckie, a 2015 Asian Cup winner, missed a large chunk of the A-League Men season after a knee injury suffered on Socceroos duties and had been building minutes and form.

"First and foremost, getting my knee right was important, to try to get some games under my belt before the Asian Cup," he said.

"Now we'll see what happens with this, but I was just really happy to be out there again ... I was just enjoying it.

"So we'll see. I mean, obviously I want to be there (the Asian Cup). I'd love to be there, but if it's not meant to be, it is what it is."

Maclaren played half an hour and admitted City's heavy travel schedule had affected his lingering ankle issue.

"I've just got some bone stuff in my ankle. I'll scan it tomorrow and see how bad it is," he said.

"It's been a couple of weeks, but obviously (there has been) a lot of travel and stuff. It just blows up after flights.

"It hasn't been ideal, but you always try and put your body on the line for the team, and sometimes it can be (your) downfall, but you’ve got to move on."

Maclaren has scored four goals in seven A-League Men games, seven less than Melbourne Victory striker Bruno Fornaroli.

When asked if the injury could also affect his Asian Cup prospects, Maclaren said "Yeah, possibly, but at the same time, I'm not guaranteed selection.

"All the talk's been about Bruno and rightly so, he's in cracking form.

"But me, I've just got to get my head down and get us back up the ladder in the A-League Men because our form has been pretty good."

In-form Adelaide United goalkeeper Joe Gauci shapes as a possible replacement for Ryan between the posts if the AZ Alkmaar man isn't cleared to play in the Asian Cup.

Gauci, who claims to be his own harshest critic, is happy with his shot-stopping and aerial form, but admits his distribution remains a work in progress.

"I'd be confident if the opportunity was to come up, and I back myself 100 per cent," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"But at the same time I'm very aware of the areas where I need to improve."

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