Roy Hodgson has the luxury of a near full-strength squad to choose from when injury-stricken Montenegro visit Wembley for their penultimate World Cup qualifier and England’s increased attacking threat can see them ease past Montenegro with a one goal handicap at odds of 17/20.
The hosts are strongly fancied at 3/10 to take three points against Branko Brnovic’s side, who are 35/4 to win the game and the draw is at 4/1.
Daniel Sturridge has now found the back of the net 16 times in his first 18 Premier League starts for Liverpool.
The English top flight’s leading striker this season with six goals will line-up in attack with Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney after suspension and injuries ruled all three out of the last match against Ukraine.
England got the result they needed in Kiev, but Rooney’s guile and tenacity was sorely missed up front and the Group H top-scorer has put a summer of transfer speculation behind him to be Manchester Utd’s most influential player so far this term, with five goals in his first eight games.
Montenegro look set to start the game without five of their first choice line-up.
Hodgson’s boys could not be facing the Brave Falcons at a better time as their injury list includes goalkeeper Mladan Bozovic, midfielder Milorad Pekovic, centre-halves Marco Basa and Miodrag Dzudovic and Juventus striker and captain Mirko Vucinic.
Manchester City’s Stevan Jovetic is expected to take the armband at Wembley despite barely featuring for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season due to lack of fitness and Andrija Delibasic – Montenegro’s top scorer in Group H with four goals – has not featured since becoming a free agent over the summer.
England’s new-look defence came of age against Ukraine in Kiev.
Centre-half Gary Cahill led from the back as Group H’s second-highest scorers – behind England – were kept out in the 0-0 draw and bar a few nervous moments early on from Kyle Walker the back four produced a faultless display.
Ashley Cole’s injury has opened the door for Leighton Baines – who has been one of the Premier League’s most impressive operators this term – to come in at left-back against a depleted attack that hasn’t managed to score twice in a game since beating San Marino 3-0 at home in November.