Football: Durie the major doubt for Scots

Click to follow
By Phil Shaw in Washington DC

SCOTLAND left New York for the Capitol yesterday, fearful that their first-choice striking partnership of Kevin Gallacher and Gordon Durie will again be prevented from playing together in tomorrow's final World Cup warm-up match by the latter's troublesome hamstring.

Gallacher and Durie have not started a game as a pair in the four matches since Scotland beat Latvia last October to qualify for France98. They were due to face Colombia at Giants Stadium last Saturday, only for the Blackburn player to miss out because of a severe stomach upset. Durie then limped off in the second half and is rated extremely doubtful for the match at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium.

The Scottish defence is likely to encounter a familiar face in the US line-up. Roy Wegerle, who scored more than 80 goals during a flamboyant decade in the English game, is set to spearhead the American attack just three years after a spate of injuries led him to the brink of retirement.

In fact, given the US coach Steve Sampson's devotion to an unorthodox 3-6-1 system, Wegerle will effectively be a one-man forward line at RFK. Now 34, the South African-born former Luton, Queen's Park Rangers, Chelsea, Blackburn and Coventry striker has emerged as the favourite to operate the lone attacker's role.

Wegerle's rivals are Eric Wynalda, of San Jose Clash, who will complete a century of caps if he appears against Colin Hendry and company, and Brian McBride, of Columbus Crew. Wynalda, the US's leading scorer of all time, underwent knee surgery last month and struggled in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Kuwait. McBride sat out the game after suffering concussion in a 0-0 draw with Macedonia a week earlier.

Sampson confirmed after training at Fairfax, Virginia, yesterday that Wegerle was "likely to start". However, he is sufficiently concerned about his team's lack of scoring power to be considering dropping his third- string goalkeeper, the former QPR player Jurgen Sommer, in favour of an additional forward, Roy Lassiter.