Football:Defensive problems for Brown

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The Independent Online
Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, could suffer another setback to his defensive options for the World Cup Group Four meeting with Belarus in Minsk next month.

Brown has already lost the regular pairing of Blackburn's Colin Hendry, who is to have a groin operation, and Colin Calderwood of Tottenham, who is suspended. Now the Rangers defender Alan McLaren is a concern not only for the World Cup tie but the friendlies against Wales at Kilmarnock on 27 May and in Malta on 1 June. McLaren is to see a specialist about the knee injury which caused him to miss Euro 96 last summer.

Brown already looks set to include Christian Dailly of Derby and Brian McAllister of Wimbledon in his plans for the friendlies. Both are uncapped and two other candidates could be Steven Pressley of Dundee United and David Weir of Hearts. The injured midfielder, Billy McKinlay of Blackburn, is Brown's other doubt. The Scotland manager will name his squad for all three games tomorrow afternoon.