Kennedy in line to win first senior Scottish cap

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The Independent Football

This week's international friendlies could see a swathe of players win their first caps, after a number of late withdrawals.

This week's international friendlies could see a swathe of players win their first caps, after a number of late withdrawals.

The Scotland coach, Berti Vogts, has seen seven of his squad pull out because of injury and is expected to give the Celtic defender John Kennedy his first senior Scotland cap when they entertain Romania tomorrow. The Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who suffered a groin injury in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal yesterday, and the Blackburn striker Paul Gallagher were the latest names to withdraw from the squad. There are still doubts over whether Celtic's Stephen Pearson, who picked up a knock in Sunday's Old Firm derby with Rangers, would also be fit.

The Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes has been added to the squad and joins Coventry City's goalkeeper, Scott Shearer, defenders Stephen Crainey of Southampton and John Kennedy of Celtic.

Wales have called up the Cardiff defender James Collins and the Wigan striker Neil Roberts for the first time as they patch up a depleted squad for tomorrow's match against Hungary in Budapest. Those pulling out include Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, Newcastle's Craig Bellamy and Sunderland's John Oster, who have all reported hamstring injuries. The other players out are Mark Crossley (sciatica), Adrian Williams (foot infection), Simon Davies (shin), Paul Parry (hamstring), Mark Pembridge (calf), Andy Johnson (groin) and Nathan Blake (neck).

The Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny seems certain to win his first cap for the Republic of Ireland at some stage in tomorrow's friendly with the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road. Manchester City's Richard Dunne (groin), Newcastle's Andy O'Brien (hamstring) and Leeds's Stephen McPhail (calf) were the latest players to pull out. In response, the Republic of Ireland coach, Brian Kerr, has called up three uncapped players: John Thompson of Nottingham Forest, Stephen Kelly of Tottenham and Celtic's Liam Miller.

The Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen has pulled out of the Iceland squad for tomorrow's friendly against Albania. Gudjohnsen suffered a groin injury in Chelsea's 5-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. Hermann Hreidarsson, who is nursing a hamstring injury, will also miss the friendly in Tirana.

Zinedine Zidane will miss France's friendly against the Netherlands in Rotterdam tomorrow with nagging thigh pain. The Real Madrid midfielder scored in Sunday's 5-1 Spanish league victory over Sevilla.

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