Blackpool’s Kenny Dougall has jetted off on international duty ahead of Australia’s homecoming.
The Socceroos take on Saudi Arabia on Thursday in what will be their first game in front of their own fans in 763 days.
During the pandemic, the Aussies played their ‘home’ games in Doha, Qatar, due to Covid restrictions back home.
But those restrictions have now been eased and Graham Arnold’s side can now look forward to their crunch clash against the Saudis at the Western Sydney Stadium later this week.
The Socceroos currently top their World Cup qualifying group at the halfway stage, while their upcoming opponents sit second.
It could be an extra special occasion for Dougall should he play, as he’s never played in front of his home fans before. The 28-year-old’s three international caps have all come on the road.
Posting on social media ahead of his flight down under, Dougall spoke of his excitement.
“After two and a half years I finally get to go home,” the midfielder posted on Instagram.
“Hopefully one day the government will let me see my parents.”
Australia take on China away from home in their second qualifier of the November of the international break.
Dougall jets off after having a goal unjustly ruled out during Saturday’s 1-1 draw against QPR.
The midfielder headed home what appeared to be the opening goal in the sixth minute, only for the linesman to raise his flag.
Gary Madine was ruled offside, but replays showed the ball was already over the line before Madine got the final touch.
Thankfully the Seasiders were able to fight back after Chris Willock gave QPR the lead in impressive fashion, Madine equalising at the start of the second-half from the penalty spot.
Elsewhere this international break, Shayne Lavery has been left out of the Northern Ireland squad for their upcoming fixtures.
The 22-year-old is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury he suffered in the win against Blackburn Rovers at the start of October.
He’s missed Blackpool’ s last six games as a result but could be back fit after the international break.
Northern Ireland host Lithuania in Belfast on Friday, November 12 before facing Italy, also at home, the following Monday.
Lavery was also forced to withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad during the last international break, missing the games against Switzerland and Bulgaria.
Ian Baraclough’s side have little to play for, as they sit in fourth place in their qualifying group with two games remaining.
Elsewhere, Tyreece John-Jules has missed out on a call-up to the England Under-21s squad.
Daniel Gretarsson, meanwhile, has linked up with the Iceland squad ahead of their qualifiers against Romania and North Macedonia.