Scotland are sweating on the fitness of skipper Darren Fletcher ahead of their crunch Euro 2012 qualifying double-header against Liechtenstein and Spain.
The Manchester United midfielder, who only recently returned to action following several months on the sidelines with a debilitating stomach virus, is said to be suffering from tonsillitis.
If Fletcher fails to recover in time, it would represent a major blow for boss Craig Levein, who is already likely to be without Kenny Miller for Saturday’s Group I clash in Vaduz.
The striker picked up a groin problem in Cardiff’s 2-1 defeat against Hull at the weekend and Levein’s assistant Peter Houston suggested that it will be “difficult” for him to be fit to face Liechtenstein.
Brighton hitman Craig Mackail-Smith is in line to deputise for Miller, while Fletcher, who is yet to join up with the squad in Manchester, will be assessed by the Scotland medical team today.
Scotland are currently at 3/10 to beat Liechtenstein – who are rated as 10/1 shots to cause a major upset – but that price may not have too many takers if both Fletcher and Miller miss out.
They can currently be backed at 15/4 to finish second in their group, which means punters using their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on this outcome would win £118.75 if they manage to pull it off.
Levein’s men are battling with the Czech Republic for that position and the subsequent route into the play-offs, but they currently trail them by two points with two games remaining.
However, the Czechs host runaway group winners Spain on Friday and if the world and European champions triumph, Scotland could sneak into the box seat, albeit temporarily, with victory in Vaduz.
Assuming they also come up short in Tuesday’s final qualifier against Spain in Alicante, the Scots would then be praying for Lithuania to beat the Czechs in Kaunas on the same night in order to remain above them.
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