Brown turns to Dodds

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The Independent Online
Craig Brown endured a typical Sunday yesterday - on the phone trying to patch up his injury-hit Scotland squad.

Brown, the Scotland manager, may include some unfamiliar names on the bench, if not in his line-up, for Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Gothenburg. Even one of his late replacements, John Spencer of Queen's Park Rangers, has had to withdraw.

Spencer joined the Scotland party at their base in East Kilbride on Saturday evening - but was obliged to tell Brown that he had suffered a back injury after scoring for his club against Tranmere Rovers that afternoon. The Aberdeen forward Billy Dodds has now been summoned as the replacement for the replacement.

Dodds, the veteran Rangers striker Gordon Durie, and Christian Dailly of Derby County have all been added to Brown's squad after the loss of Spencer, Billy McKinlay (Blackburn), John McGinlay (Bolton), Duncan Ferguson (Everton) and Ally McCoist (Rangers).

"We will travel with 20 players," Brown said. "We were short of striking alternatives and Billy has been involved before, having come on as a substitute against Latvia and then been unfortunate to miss out on a cap in the Estonia farce in Tallinn. He's been injured recently, but is back in the Aberdeen team and he is a dependable and hard-working wee guy."

Brown admitted that he had considered a call-up for either Barnsley's 33-year-old John Hendrie, who has never won a senior Scotland cap, or Dougie Freedman of Crystal Palace, who has not been playing regular first- team football.

Dailly, who was out shopping on Saturday afternoon when contacted by Brown, has been drafted in as cover for Paul McStay, who will travel although he has an ankle injury. "We are fortunate in that the side that started against Austria in the last game is intact," Brown said.

Richard Dunne, the 17-year-old Everton defender, could be in line for his international debut when the Republic of Ireland face Romania in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in Bucharest.

Mick McCarthy, the Republic's manager, may be forced to use Dunne at some stage of the game in the absence of Liverpool's Phil Babb, a late addition to the squad on Friday. Despite repeated efforts by the Football Association of Ireland officials, they were unable to contact Babb either at Anfield or at his home address over the weekend.

"I won't break my neck looking for the player, and I cannot wait for ever," McCarthy said. "Richard Dunne impressed when I watched him in action for Everton against Liverpool at Goodison Park recently."

Bryan Hamilton has lost two more players from his Northern Ireland squad for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in Armenia. West Ham's Michael Hughes and Keith Rowland have pulled out with injuries, so the Wigan defender Pat McGibbon and the Coventry midfielder Michael O'Neill have been called up.

n Northern Ireland will play a friendly against Thailand in Bangkok on 21 May.