McCloughan close to returning

Queensland Roar defender Josh McCloughan's comeback from a hip flexor injury will take another key step this weekend when he takes the field for Queensland Roar Youth.

Queensland Roar defender Josh McCloughan's comeback from a hip flexor injury will take another key step this weekend when he takes the field for Queensland Roar Youth.

At age 32, McCloughan will look a little out of place when he turns out for the Roar in their National Youth League home clash against Newcastle this Sunday.

The Youth League was set up by Football Federation Australia to showcase the best of younger talent around the country.

But with four players over the age of 21 allowed in each side, the veteran will be looking to gain vital match practice while his senior teammates enjoy the weekend off thanks to the FIFA-international break round.

"It's worked out well with the week off for the boys this week," McCloughan said.

"I've had a chat with Rado (Roar Youth League coach Rado Vidosic) and we're looking at maybe 45 minutes, if it's feeling good we can go the hour, if not the 90 minutes."

"I'm pretty happy to be able to get that chance on Sunday."

McCloughan is hopeful of making a return to senior action in the Roar's next Hyundai A-League match, a home fixture against Adelaide United on October 17, but he had no doubts about how challenging that would be.

"I'll get that game under my belt on Sunday, but I don't expect to walk back into a side that's been doing quite well," he said.

"But what I will do is work hard at training and show the gaffer (Roar coach Frank Farina) that I'm ready to play and give him a selection headache, and I think that's what every coach wants."

McCloughan, who has seen rookie Luke DeVere and last weekend's debutant Matt Mundy perform admirably in his centre back position, believes that competition for places at the Roar was at a high, and that this was a recipe for success.

"It's the same as what we had last year where we had a decent squad and a lot of people knocking on the door for spots," he said.

"That's the only way I think you succeed as a squad, you don't want any players to be complacent about where they're at in their position."

McCloughan, who has been sidelined since August 29 when he aggravated a hip flexor injury that first occurred during the 2008 Pre-Season Cup, has been itching to get back on the field.

"I think I hassled (Roar physio) Tony (Ganter) for the last six weeks and I've probably hassled the gaffer for about the same time."

"It was probably for the best that I give it that little bit of extra time because obviously the stop-start is not great for my season."