Fletcher wants friendly action

Scotland's captain warns absentees they could lose their places

Darrebn Fletcher: Scotland captain is still committed to the cause

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Darren Fletcher believes Scotland's friendly games will take on more importance due to their lack of competitive fixtures.

Craig Levein's side will play Cyprus on Friday in what will be the first of four non-competitive games in the build-up to their World Cup qualification campaign that will begin in the autumn of next year.

Scotland made tremendous strides during their Euro 2012 qualifying adventure that ended in defeat against Spain.

And Fletcher wants the national team to continue with that momentum they have started to generate.

Friendlies

"Because there's such a long time until the first qualifier, friendlies are important," he said.

"It's vitally important that we create a club atmosphere and it is difficult to do especially in the friendlies, there are going to be call-offs.

"If you have a slight knock for a friendly you are going to pull out because you want to be fit for your club. That's only natural, that's happened many a time.

Opportunities

"But if there are injury call-offs it gives someone else the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the team.

"If you're injured and someone comes in and performs well, you sometimes find it hard to get back into the team.

"So I've always been of the opinion that friendly games are important because you've got to stay there to keep your place in the team."