Hiddink gives striker time
Guus Hiddink says he will not replace Pavel Pogrebnyak, even if he misses Russia's first game of Euro 2008.
Last Updated: 03/06/08 9:59pm
Guus Hiddink says he will not replace Pavel Pogrebnyak, even if the striker is unavailable for Russia's opening game of Euro 2008.
Pogrebnyak underwent a scan in Munich on Tuesday to determine the extent of an injury suffered in last week's friendly against Serbia.
There are conflicting reports regarding the Zenit St Petersburg star's fitness and whether he will be able to play any part in the European Championship.
However, Russia coach Hiddink is happy to give Pogrebnyak as much time as necessary to shake off the problem.
"He is working with the physio," Hiddink told reporters. "I believe he has a chance of recovering and playing in the championship.
"We will not push him to the limit for one match.
"Even if he is out of the Spain match, he is not going anywhere. I am not going to call anyone as cover for him."
But Russian Football Union chief Vitaly Mutko believes there is a chance that Pogrebnyak could miss the entire tournament through injury.
Mutko said: "Pavel will not play against Spain. It's still difficult to predict whether he will play in the remaining matches of the championship or he will have to undergo surgery."
Alexander Kerzhakov and Dmitry Bulykin have both said they would be willing to accept a late call-up, if Pogrebnyak is ruled out of Euro 2008.
Russia's opening match of the tournament is against Spain on 10th June before Hiddink's men meet Greece and Sweden.