Socceroos 'mentally prepared' for World Cup playoff - Mark Milligan
Australia's logistically complex and final World Cup qualifying mission is under way, carrying the Socceroos to Honduras.
Ange Postecoglou's squad complted club duties in 15 countries across the weekend, and are getting settled in San Pedro Sula ahead of Friday's away leg in the intercontinental playoff.
Collectively, the Socceroos have travelled around 200,000 kilometres from their club homes to Honduras.
It might seem like a disadvantage when the majority of the Honduras squad are based at home, but Australian officials hope their meticulous planning can give them an edge.
The longest route is from Melbourne to San Pedro Sula, already undertaken by Postecoglou and James Troisi on Sunday and Tim Cahill on Monday.
Cahill's travel was delayed by a day to aid his recovery from a rolled ankle while on club duty with Melbourne City.
The shortest -- by Mitch Langerak, based with Levante in the Spanish city of Valencia -- still took the best part of a day's travel.
But the Socceroos are used to it.
Their journey to the World Cup has already taken in 20 games, with away days in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan.
No country will have had to face a longer or more arduous route to Russia.
Put simply, the Socceroos are road warriors.
Mark Milligan, who is suspended for the first leg like Mathew Leckie and won't travel to Honduras, has no doubt their Asian experiences would galvanise the team.
"The boys have a lot of travel ahead of them, but that's one thing we're very good at," he said.
"The medical staff prepare us very well to deal with that.
"The way that we prepare for flights and get ready; the recovery when we get in.'
"We do it a lot and our mentality towards it is never negative. We know we have to and we get on with it.
"If you're not used to travelling across the world all the time, it can play on your mind, and it can make things tough.
"We accept it. We know we're getting looked after from the medical staff and we trust in what they're telling us.
"That helps the mental side. The travel will be a definite advantage for us."
Milligan will take the 90-minute flight from Melbourne to Sydney to link up with the squad next week for the second leg.
But he said that didn't mean that he, Leckie and Robbie Kruse, who will also miss the first leg because of an injured knee, would be walk-up starters at ANZ Stadium.
"We never know who's going to be playing," Milligan said.