Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper David Button revealed he had been rooting for Maty Ryan and Australia at the Asian Cup, and kept in close contact with the Socceroos number one during his time in the Middle East.
Albion's number departed for the United Arab Emirates at the end of December and starred in his nation's last-16 victory, saving two spot-kicks in the penalty shootout win over Uzbekistan, before a 1-0 defeat to the tournament’s hosts in the quarter-finals.
He said, "I’ve been following him and texting him, and I’ve been pleased to see Maty doing well – it’s just a shame he couldn’t go all the way!
"I’ve been an Australia fan the last few weeks! It’s been a bit strange, but it’ll be good to have him back for everyone.
"I’d like to think that the gaffer has at least got a decision to make now, and that was my aim when Maty went away."
Ryan's return will be welcomed after Jason Steele picked up a wrist injury last week, ruling him out of the fourth-round FA Cup stalemate against West Bromwich Albion.
Button made a crucial fingertip stage during the closely-fought contest to keep his second clean sheet in five games, but said the side were disappointed to not avoid a replay.
"There is frustration in the dressing room that we didn’t take any of our chances, because it was a game we would like to have won. But it was important we didn’t lose and we’re still in the hat.
"I’ve done what I can and it’s going to be down to the manager to decide. I’d love to carry on playing, but I’ll support his decision.
"I feel like I’ve held my own so we’ll have to see what happens. It’d be particularly special to play against Fulham [on Tuesday] because they're a former club of mine, but I'll help the side out whichever way I can."