Mark Schwarzer is not guaranteed the first-team role at Fulham next year. Photo: Getty Images
Australia's presence in the English Premier League could hit a low next season as the future of two Socceroos stars hangs in the balance.
While Mark Schwarzer and Brett Holman have carried the flag for a dwindling Aussie contingent this season, there's no guarantee either will remain in arguably the world's top league in 2013-14.
Schwarzer is yet to renew his contact at Fulham and Holman appears on the outer at Villa, suggesting he could be set for a move in the off-season.
With goalkeeper Adam Federici and his club Reading relegated to the Championship, it raises the possibility of an Australian contingent severely lacking in first-team players next season.
Squad players Brad Jones (Liverpool) and Chris Herd (Aston Villa) remain on contract with their clubs while youngsters Curtis Good (Newcastle United), Ryan Williams (Fulham) and Dylan Tombides (West Ham) are on the books but have not made senior appearances.
Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak could become a new addition in the Premier League, with his side fighting for promotion in the Championship play-off against Watford on Monday. Even if they lose he is likely to be on the radar of several Premier League teams.
His arrival in the top flight would be a welcome boost for an Australian contingent that has been in steady decline in recent years.
Midway through last decade it was almost possible to assemble a team from Australians in the top flight. Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, Tony Popovic and Josip Skoko were all teamsheet regulars. In the '90s there were the likes of Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater while more recently Everton star Tim Cahill and Blackburn's Brett Emerton carried Australia's tradition with success.
Schwarzer, a legend of the Premier League who recently became the first foreigner to surpass 500 appearances, lamented the decline but said it was good to see Australians making their mark elsewhere in Europe.
''I think it [England] is still one of the best leagues in the world and I think the more we have playing in the Premier League the better,'' Schwarzer said.
''But it's also good to see some of the guys breaking through like Robbie Kruse in Germany and Tommy Oar in Holland.
''It would be nice if these guys, especially Tommy, were able to step up and get up to a bigger league and a better league and become a mainstay in the national team.''