Brown's fitness gamble

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The Scotland manager, Craig Brown, yesterday recalled Duncan Ferguson and Colin Hendry - with his fingers crossed that both will be fit for a World Cup mission against Sweden.

Brown named Everton's Ferguson and Blackburn's Hendry in a 23-man squad for the Group Four qualifier against Sweden at Ibrox on Sunday 10 November. Both players missed the trip to Latvia and Estonia because of operations, but Brown is prepared to gamble on their fitness. He also named the Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram, who has missed his club's last six matches.

"Having Ferguson available is a boost, as it comes when we could be without other important players," Brown said. "I've been in touch with Everton. and the word is that Duncan is fit and flying and desperate to play again."

The Rangers trio of Alan McLaren, Stuart McCall and Gordon Durie are all unfit and if, as expected, Goram misses out, then Jim Leighton will step in again. Brown has kept faith with his strikers: Billy Dodds (Aberdeen), Darren Jackson (Hibernian) and John McGinlay (Bolton), who have shown good club form.

Celtic have sold the former Swansea City and Falkirk defender John Hughes to Hibernian for pounds 300,000. The 32-year-old makes his debut for Hibs at Kilmarnock tonight.

Southampton have taken the former England goalkeeper Chris Woods on loan for four months from the Denver-based Major League Soccer team, Colorado Rapids. The 36-year-old will act as cover for Dave Beasant at The Dell.

The French sports newspaper L'Equipe has reported that Blackburn Rovers have made an offer for Paris St-Germain's Panamanian international striker, Julio Cesar Dely Valdes. Blackburn have been linked with a string of top strikers since Alan Shearer's pounds 15m departure to Newcastle, including Brazil's Bebeto and Germany's Oliver Bierhoff and Jurgen Klinsmann, but it is unlikely any deal will be finalised until a new manager has been installed at Ewood Park.

Tony Yeboah has been given the all-clear to resume light training with Leeds next week. The Ghanaian international has been out of action for seven months with damaged knee ligaments. "It's good news and it's a bit earlier than we expected, George Graham, the Leeds manager, said.

SCOTLAND SQUAD (World Cup Group Four v Sweden, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, 10 November): Goram (Rangers), Leighton (Hibernian), Walker (Aberdeen); Boyd (Celtic), Burley (Chelsea), Calderwood (Tottenham), Collins (Monaco), Dodds (Aberdeen), Ferguson (Everton), Gallacher (Blackburn), Gemmill (Nottingham Forest), Hendry (Blackburn), D Jackson (Hibernian), Jess (Coventry), Lambert (Borussia Dortmund), McAllister (Coventry), McCoist (Rangers), McGinlay (Bolton), T McKinlay (Celtic), B McKinlay (Blackburn), McNamara (Celtic), Spencer (Chelsea), Whyte (Middlesbrough).

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