Burley waits on exiles for Norway trip

Scotland manager admits anxieties over English-based players ahead of key game
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The Independent Football

Scotland manager George Burley will endure a "nervy" weekend worrying about injuries to his squad ahead of Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Norway.

The Scottish Premier League put back the start of its season until next weekend to allow Burley time to prepare his side for the important match in Oslo. However, David Marshall, Callum Davidson, Lee McAllister, Kris Commons, Paul Hartley, David Clarkson and Ross McCormack could all be involved with their respective Championship sides in England this weekend.

Darren Fletcher has also opted to play for Manchester United in the Community Shield game at Wembley tomorrow.

Speaking at the Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond – where he is gathering his squad together in piecemeal fashion over the weekend before flying to Norway on Monday – Burley said: "We had 13 players at training today and the idea was to get as many players here as possible.

"We have players playing over the weekend so we have to keep our fingers crossed. It is always nervy but we usually have longer to prepare. If anyone gets a knock, it doesn't give them much time to get over it. We can just hope they come through.

"With Darren, it is understandable. The boy is in an impossible position; he is playing a big match at Wembley and it is always difficult for places at Manchester United. The game will benefit him – as long as he doesn't get injured."

Scotland lie in second place behind runaway Group Nine winners Holland with seven points from five games, while the Norwegians are bottom with only three points from the same number of matches.

Scotland coach Steven Pressley believes the win-or-bust situation Norway find themselves in gives the the visitors the advantage.

"I am surprised Norway are in that position; they have a lot of players with experience," he said. "But I have no fears. I think it is the last throw of the dice for them; if we beat them on Wednesday night then their World Cup is over. So they have a huge pressure on them to win and that suits the players that we have in our squad. George will put out a team to win the game. A point could be a good result but we will be going out to win the game."

Burley, who will assess his entire squad over the next few days before he selects his side, believes victory in Oslo will massively strengthen Scotland's chances of finishing as one of the eight best runners-up, which would give them a play-off place.

"We have the advantage over them at the moment; we are in second position and they are bottom," he said. "They are the ones who are under pressure. They need to win the game but we will be going there to get the result for ourselves.

"If we could get a positive result, it would put us in pole position and we will go there and try and build from the last game against Iceland. I was pleased with the shape against Iceland; we had to win and we did and if we go over there in the same manner, I think we can get the same result."