|By JAMES WILLOUGHBY
Leeds United defender Patrick Kisnorbo is still hopeful of representing Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but knows he must be playing regular football for his dream to become a reality.
The 31-year-old from Melbourne has been at the Championship outfit for almost three-and-a-half years but has made just 58 appearances after suffering a series of injuries.
Kisnorbo's most serious injury - an Achilles tear that saw him go 411 days between games - ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when it was widely expected that he would not only travel to the tournament but partner Lucas Neill at the heart of his country's defence.
And the commanding centre-back says that missing out in 2010 is driving him to be a part of Holger Osieck's squad in Brazil.
"It is hard. I still think about the opportunity that I missed through injury," Kisnorbo told Goal.com.
"Sometimes when you are on your own, certain things just come in your head. That always comes up. That's why I really want to make Brazil.
"I haven't been called up yet but I just want a chance to get back in the team. Everyone wants to represent their country but at a World Cup, that's the biggest dream any footballer can have. It would be fantastic and I would love to have that opportunity.
"But I need to start playing... that's the main thing for me to get back into the Socceroos... for me to start playing."
Fully fit again, Kisnorbo has featured just once for Leeds this season, in a 4-0 Capital One Cup victory over Oxford United.
That is not to say the Australian is not working hard in training.
He enters his meeting with Goal.com at the club's state-of-the-art training facilities at Thorp Arch with white paint - used to mark the lines on a football pitch - all over his t-shirt, shorts and legs.
After the interview is complete, we part ways. The players have finished training, had their lunch and are all in the process of leaving the training ground.
More than an hour after the session is finished, music is blaring from the club's gym. The sight of Kisnorbo, working hard on his own, doing a series of exercises designed to build his core strength, is not surprising.
"I am just working as hard as I can," he said.
"[Hopefully] the rest will take care of itself. That's all I can do. It is hard not playing especially when you come back from what [injury] I had. But as a professional sportsman, sometimes you don't get the rub of the green or you are just out of favour.
"There's no point coming here upset because it is just going to affect you. The guys here are good and the staff are good so that helps. I can only train hard and if I get a chance, hopefully I can take it."
With Tom Lees, Jason Pearce, Swansea City loanee Alan Tate and Lee Peltier preferred to him at centre-back so far this season, a loan move might be Kisnorbo's best option for first-team football at the moment.
He was set to join fellow Championship team Ipswich Town on a month-long loan deal in November but Leeds manager Neil Warnock blocked the move at the last minute.
The loan window will re-open in January and may give Kisnorbo a chance to show Warnock his wares before his contract expires at the end of the season.
Even if he leaves when his deal runs out, the former Hearts and Leicester City defender will be fondly remembered by Leeds fans.
Kisnorbo after scoring for Australia in a 2009 friendly against South Korea. He is now targeting a return to the Socceroos' fold, having not represented his country since November 2009's AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Oman.
After signing for the club in July 2009, Kisnorbo was tremendous at the back in his first season as the Yorkshire giants finally won promotion out of League One at the third attempt.
He saved his best performance for a famous 1-0 victory at Manchester United in the FA Cup and won a swag of awards - including the club's player of the season - for his dominant, all-effort displays.
"The Man United win was a bit surreal," he said.
"I remember after the game, none of the boys could believe what we had just done. We created history, not only for ourselves, but also for the club. It was just great to be a part of.
"And then to get promoted the way we did, in the last game of the season and with 10 men [Leeds were 1-0 down against Bristol Rovers in a match they had to win to secure automatic promotion] ... with 'Becks' [Jermaine Beckford] scoring on his fairytale goodbye. That was just fantastic. I will never forget those moments.
"The club has developed [since I arrived]. It is a great club and a big club. The Leeds fans are the best supporters I have ever played under.
"Hopefully there's more things to come. It's been a great four years since I have been here and who knows; hopefully I am here for many more."
With a desire to play regular football and represent his country again, a move to the A-League would put Kisnorbo in the Australian spotlight.
But the 18-time Socceroo, who played in the now-defunct National Soccer League with South Melbourne, believes it is too soon for a move back to Australia.
"I think it is a bit early for me," he said.
"The A-League is a great competition. Even though I thought the NSL was unbelievable, I think the revamp needed to happen, where they put more money into it and now it is played in bigger stadiums.
"But I'm not quite ready to return home yet."
Kisnorbo clearly still feels he has more to give at Leeds. All he wants is a chance. And you can be sure he will doing everything humanly possible to get that opportunity.