Fulham midfielder Simon Elliott could make the trip back to New Zealand for the All Whites’ two soccer internationals against Malaysia this month.
Elliott has been included in a 20-man squad named today by coach Ricki Herbert, who is hopeful of securing his release.
Herbert said Fulham had indicated Elliott would be available for the friendlies in Christchurch on February 19 and Auckland four days later.
But his participation would not be confirmed until the English Premier League club undertook player assessments after their 4-2 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford at the weekend.
Herbert said he expected to get confirmation either way tomorrow.
If Elliott was ruled out, Waitakere United’s Craig Wylie would take his place.
The other New Zealander in the English premiership, Blackburn defender Ryan Nelsen, was unavailable, as was midfielder Ivan Vicelich, from Dutch first division club Roda JC.
The All Whites squad contains seven uncapped players, including four from the New Zealand Football Championship — striker Campbell Banks, midfielder Andrew Barron, and defenders Andrew Boyens and James Pritchett.
The others are forward Jeremy Brockie and goalkeeper Glen Moss, both with the New Zealand Knights, and Victoria-based midfielder Jeff Fleming.
* New Zealand soccer squad to face Malaysia:
Campbell Banks (YoungHeart Manawatu), Andrew Barron (Canterbury United), Leo Bertos (unattached), Andrew Boyens (Otago United), Jeremy Brockie (NZ Knights), Tim Brown (Richmond Kickers, US), Jeremy Christie (Knights), Simon Elliott (Fulham), Brent Fisher (Canterbury Utd), Jeff Fleming (Green Gully, Victoria), Danny Hay (Perth Glory, captain), Noah Hickey (Knights), Tony Lochhead (New England Revolution, US), Glen Moss (Knights), David Mulligan (Doncaster Rovers), Ross Nicholson (Auckland City), Steven Old (St John’s University, US), James Pritchett (Auckland City), Shane Smeltz (Wimbledon), Adrian Webster (Darlington).