Euro 2008

Richards' fitness concern

Austria v England live on Sky Sports 1 from 8pm on Friday

Richards: Concerned

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England defender Micah Richards says it is imperative the squad come through Friday's friendly with Austria unscathed.

The warm-up game against Austria is preparation for what could be a crunch Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia five days later.

And with Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Wayne all unavailable, Richards admits that the primary concern will be to avoid picking up any fresh knocks.

"The main thing in the Austria game will be to stay injury-free," he told the Daily Express.

"We have JT and Rio out, as well as Wayne Rooney, so any more injuries would be a real blow. We have to make sure we stay fit and fresh."


With England's hopes of qualification out of their hands, Richards expressed his hope that Russia stumble against Israel on Saturday.

"It will not be enjoyable, but I will be watching how Russia get on against Israel on Saturday night, I just have to," he added.

"There is nothing I can do except hope and pray that Israel pick up at least a point.

"It is not nice to be relying on what other people are doing for us to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals, but I am sure Israel will give it a good go."