Burley hopes for Gordon boost
Scotland boss waiting on keeper, but Brown expected to be fit
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: September 8, 2009 1:36pm
Burley: Big test awaits
Scotland boss George Burley is hoping Craig Gordon will be fit to face Holland in a crunch 2010 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.
Scotland v Holland
7.30pm, Wed, Sky Sports 2 & HD2
The Sunderland keeper picked up a slight thigh strain during Saturday's 2-0 victory over Macedonia and is facing a race against time to prove his fitness.
Burley is optimistic regarding Gordon's chances of being involved in the must-win meeting with the Dutch, but admits he is yet to make a decision on his starting XI.
"He will be assessed tomorrow (Wednesday). He played on Saturday, looked fine, but he has had a reaction and we will assess him in the morning," said the national coach.
"You want all your key players to be available, but it's a squad game. We have got 22 players desperate to play, but if Craig is fit it would be a big bonus for us.
"If Craig is fit he will play, if he's not we will look at someone else."
Scott Brown had been another doubt ahead of the midweek showdown, after sustaining an ankle problem, but the Celtic midfielder is expected to shake off the complaint in time to feature at Hampden Park.
Able to train
"Scott's fine. He jarred his ankle, he didn't actually get a knock on it," added Burley.
"He came in Sunday and wasn't too bad and he will be training this afternoon."
Scotland must win against Holland to have the best possible chance of clinching a play-off spot, but Burley knows his side are in for a tough examination from a team yet to drop a point in their qualification campaign.
"Holland are one of the top six teams in the world," he said.
"Against Holland we will have to be at our very best and everyone will need to be at their maximum but, if we can do that, we can get the right result. But certainty we will have to battle for the whole 90 minutes.
"We know they're a magnificent side. We know their quality. They will want to keep their unbeaten record going, but it is up to us to play to the best of our ability with the passion and commitment we showed on Saturday."
He added: "We are looking to try and win it, to get second and get in the play-offs.
"We are up against one of the top countries in the world. It is up to us to win the game, though, whether we are underdogs or not. We can't fear them.
"We have to work hard as a unit and do what we are good at. Concentration has to be at a maximum to get the right result. From a player's points of view, from a manager's point of view, it doesn't come any bigger"
One of those who will definitely miss out on Wednesday is talismanic playmaker James McFadden.
The Birmingham ace incurred a suspension at the weekend, after picking up a dubious yellow card, but Scotland skipper Darren Fletcher is confident someone else will take on the mantle of creative responsibility.
"It's a great opportunity for someone else to come into the team," said the Manchester United midfielder.
"James is a great player, a great goalscorer, and he always does well for Scotland in the big games. He is a bit of an enigma for Scotland really.
"But someone else has the chance to come in. Even though James will be a massive miss there is quality to come in and replace him."