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Mark Milligan preparing for Iraq match with club future still up in the air

Australia's Mark Milligan
Australia's Mark Milligan is currently playing his club football in the Arabian Gulf League for Baniyas.

Socceroo Mark Milligan admits he has no idea what his club future holds or where he fits in Ange Postecoglou's plans for Thursday's must-win World Cup qualifier against Iraq.

Milligan, who is capped 53 times, has started on the bench for Australia's last two qualifiers and faces a difficult task in breaking back into the starting side with so many of the defenders and midfielders in the squad hitting form.

His contract with United Arab Emirates club Baniyas, who are bottom of the Arabian Gulf League, also expires at the end of April and there is little indication of where he might move next.

Hopeful some of the European clubs who were keen to sign him during the January transfer window may renew their interest, the 31-year-old expects to have a clearer idea over the coming weeks.

IraqIraq
AustraliaAustralia
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"There's been a little bit of talk here and there but nothing really worth thinking about, to be honest," Milligan said.

"I'm sort of focusing on [the Socceroos] -- it's very, very important to me. If I'm doing well with the national team, things like that seem to be a bit easier.

"I've just got to sit tight at the moment and see what comes."

Finding a club where he can play regularly and at a good level is crucial with the Confederations Cup and -- hopefully -- the 2018 World Cup in Russia to come.

Milligan would not rule out an A-League return but said it would have to be for the right reasons.

"It's not a decision I'd take lightly and definitely not a decision that's made simply because there's nothing else," he said.

Australia are the only undefeated team in Group B and are only one point adrift of joint leaders Saudi Arabia and Japan but cannot afford to slip up against Iraq on Thursday at Tehran's PAS Stadium after three consecutive qualifying draws.

Primarily a midfielder, Milligan played as a central defender in the 2-0 win over Iraq last year but his last international appearance was at right-back in the 2-2 draw with the Saudis in October.

"It was a little bit difficult, I hadn't played right-back in probably 10 years before that," he said.

"I'd obviously love to play but there's still an important three days before the game where a lot of work will be done.

"Whatever happens, I'll be prepared for."

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