Injuries ruled out Tony Dorigo, Brian Deane, Paul Merson and David Bardsley from Wednesday's match, leaving Graham Taylor, the England manager, with only one reinforcement - Newcastle's John Beresford. The full-back will join the party in style - in his chairman's private jet - if he comes through unscathed from this afternoon's televised First Division home game against Birmingham City.
'The four players arrived injured and as they were not going to be fit for Wednesday there was no point in them travelling,' Taylor said.
The withdrawals, coming on top of earlier injuries to the Sheffield Wednesday striker Paul Warhurst and Arsenal's Alan Smith, mean England are short of cover, but they should not have too drastic an effect on team strategy for the Group Two game.
Only Dorigo, forced to miss his 12th cap by an ankle injury, played last month in the 6-0 win against San Marino, when he stood in for the captain, Stuart Pearce. The manager has already earmarked Andy Sinton, the Queen's Park Rangers winger, to play full-back in place of Dorigo.
The 17-goal Deane, who was summoned from Sheffield United only on Thursday as cover for Warhurst and Smith, failed to overcome a groin strain. Merson had been expected to recover from a similiar injury and their absence sends England into the game with little firepower beyond the obvious partnership of Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand.
Bardsley, the QPR right-back and understudy to Arsenal's Lee Dixon, pulled out with a thigh strain, but the good news was that the centre-half Des Walker has shaken off an ankle injury.Reuse content