Monday, June 17, 2024

Burley upbeat despite fresh injury blows

SoccerNews in World Cup 10 Sep 2008


Scotland manager George Burley has yet more injury worries to contend with as his squad prepare to travel to Iceland for their Group 9 World Cup qualifier.

Striker Kenny Miller is a major doubt for Wednesday's match after he tweaked his hamstring in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Macedonia.

Veteran defender Graham Alexander also missed training on Monday after picking up a thigh knock.

The pair join an already extensive injury list with David Weir, Kevin Thomson, Kevin McNaughton, Callum Davidson, Garry O'Connor and David Marshall having to withdraw from the squad for the qualification double-header.

The Scotland manager is also without Barry Ferguson and Alan Hutton due to long-term injuries.

Burley, under pressure following defeat in his first competitive game in charge, has moved quickly to draft Hibernian's Steven Fletcher into his squad.

Fletcher, who has been capped once before, shone as he scored twice in the under-21s 3-1 victory over Slovenia last week.

There was some good news for the Scotland gaffer with captain Stephen McManus expected to play in Iceland, despite receiving an ankle knock in the Macedonia match, and the return of James Morrison to training.

Burley said: “We will see what Kenny is like but we have a good squad of players so we will pick from who is available.

“Graham and Kenny didn't train on Monday but Kenny is the biggest worry with his hamstring.

“James Morrison did train for the first time but it is touch and go whether he will be available for Wednesday.”

A defeat in Iceland could see Scotland out of the running for a place at South Africa 2010 after just two games.

But Burley still has every faith in Scotland's ability to qualify for the World Cup and believes his squad has enough ability to get a win in Reykjavik.

History is on the manager's side with Scotland claiming victory on the four previous occasions the teams have met competitively.

Burley has taken heart from Norway and Iceland's 2-2 opening day draw and claims Macedonia will also cause problems for Holland, who they host on Wednesday night.

Before kick-off we wanted 17 points from our eight games. Nothing has changed and the target remains the same,” Burley said.

“We've got seven games left and we take it on. We have lost three points from out first game and that makes it tough.

“But Norway and Iceland have also lost points so we will look to pick up points in Iceland on Wednesday night.

“We still have the possibility to qualify, but it makes it tougher.

“I have said all along that this is going to be a very competitive group and teams will take points off each other.

“Macedonia will make it hard for any team in those conditions.

“We are trying to get the best attacking system and that's something we will keep looking at.”

Fixtures (1930 BST unless otherwise stated)


Iceland v Scotland

Macedonia v Holland


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