Ferguson may miss out again

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The Independent Online
The Blackburn Rovers midfielder Billy McKinlay is out of Scotland's World Cup squad for Wednesday's vital qualifier against Sweden in Gothenburg.

However, Scotland's manager, Craig Brown, must wait until today to discover if Everton's Duncan Ferguson will be involved. Reports this week have suggested that Ferguson, who has made just seven appearances for his country in five years, could be ready to withdraw yet again this weekend.

So far no news is good news, according to Brown, who has John Spencer of Queen's Park Rangers on standby and is also hoping Bolton's John McGinlay will be fit.

"Billy McKinlay is the only confirmed absentee which would leave me with 20 players, three of whom are goalkeepers," Brown said. "Billy has a knee injury which has been troubling him for Blackburn recently, and he is bitterly disappointed to miss out after seldom being forced to withdraw in the past on fitness grounds."

That can hardly be said of Ferguson, who missed Euro 96 and two double- headers in the World Cup Group Four campaign so far, including the recent wins over Estonia and Austria. "I've had no communication from Everton on Ferguson," added Brown. The striker is expected to report to Hampden today.

Brown added: "We will monitor John McGinlay's position with Bolton tonight [Friday]. If he is involved [against Charlton], we will see if there is a reaction, and if not then we might look at it, as he would have missed three games."

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