Martin Boyle: Hibs winger only given '50/50' chance of playing for Australia as manager gives fitness update
The 28-year-old scored Australia’s second goal in their 3-0 victory over China in World Cup qualifying last week but limped off with around 20 minutes remaining.
Although the injury was not understood to be significant, Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has admitted the in-form Boyle only has a 50/50 chance of featuring against Vietnam at the Mỹ Đình National Stadium on Tuesday (kick-off 1pm UK time).
“First and foremost it’s player welfare and making sure that we’re looking after the players,” Arnold told the Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the match in Hanoi, following a training session on a local pitch interrupted by a number of toads.
"We train tonight at the stadium – we trained on a training pitch last night, it was a great experience, there were frogs on the pitch – and we’ll see how it is.
"At this moment Martin is 50/50 but in these type of World Cup qualifiers, we need players out there that can walk on the pitch expecting to play 90 minutes and with a lot of energy.
“It’s important for me that all the players are in that condition.”
The Australia head coach is unlikely to risk Boyle if he fails to adequately prove his fitness in the final training session but is keen to play his strongest available team as the Socceroos chase a tenth successive World Cup qualification victory.
Arnold explained: “It’s a World Cup qualifier and I’ve got to put my best team out there that I feel that is ready to go on to the pitch and perform at its best.
“The most important thing is that the boys are physically and mentally very good, and I expect a great performance."
There is an obvious concern for Hibs if Boyle fails to feature in the Vietnamese capital with the Edinburgh derby on Sunday, but perhaps also a fear that he could aggravate the injury if he does play.
Either way, the Easter Road hierarchy faces an anxious wait for news on Boyle’s condition ahead of the trip to Tynecastle Park this weekend.