Football: Brown forced to call on his reserves

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THE unpleasant after effects of a rogue prawn sandwich continue to plague Scotland's top scorer in the World Cup qualifying campaign, Kevin Gallacher, as Craig Brown ponders his options for Saturday's friendly against the United States in Washington DC.

Gallacher missed Saturday's draw against Colombia at the Giants Stadium after being confined to bed with severe stomach pains which necessitated two injections. Never the burliest of players, he shed 5lb which, according to the Scotland manager, "he couldn't afford to lose".

The Blackburn striker was at least up and about yesterday as his colleagues took part in a training session delayed by a dramatic thunderstorm. However, with Rangers' Gordon Durie also struggling to shake off a hamstring problem sustained against Colombia, Brown may be forced to go into his last match before France 98 fielding a makeshift attack.

"At least Kevin can't get another injury if he's not playing, but we're very keen to give him a game to get him sharp for Brazil [on 10 June]," Brown said. "He'll only play against the US if he can do himself justice."

On a positive note, Brown has been impressed by the way John Collins' fitness regime from Monaco has been adopted by his team-mates. "They see what's it done for John - his upper body's so solid that he never gets brushed off the ball - so now we've got players obsessed by diet and working out. We call them the Gym Club."

Brown and his coaching staff will today study a video of the Americans' 2-0 defeat of Kuwait in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. While confident that his opposite number, Steve Sampson, will not be able to surprise him tactically, he rates the States as a better side than Colombia.

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