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Burley targets important victory

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Burley looks to Scots players 'on-form'

Manager George Burley knows a Hampden victory over Norway would put Scotland in a strong position in World Cup qualifying Group 9.

"It's an important game for both countries," he said. "With only five teams in the group it's intense and every game is crucial.

"If we could win, we would move on to six points against Norway's one.

"There is not much between the sides, so we have to be focused and look to take advantage of our home games."

Norway were held to a surprise 2-2 draw at home to Iceland when Scotland were beaten in Macedonia.

Scotland have since won in Reykjavik to get their qualification bid back on track.

"Norway will be disappointed not to have taken three points from Iceland at home, so they will be looking to get a good result over here

"They were well on top against Iceland but conceded from two set-plays.

"Norway are a good side with a lot of experience and strength.

"They are quite an attacking team but (manager Age) Hareide has said conceding goals is their problem, so we have to put them under pressure.

"There's nothing like winning and winning in Iceland has given us confidence.

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"The spirit we showed in the second half against Macedonia was carried on to Iceland and now we have to take it on to Norway now."

With Barry Ferguson not yet match fit and Stephen McManus suspended following his red card in Reykjavik, Burley must choose a new skipper.

David Weir and Darren Fletcher are the favourites for the role but Burley refused to reveal his choice.

"I know who my captain is going to be but naturally I will speak to the players once we get together," added the manager.

"Stephen McManus will be a miss, he's done very well for me and, of course, Barry Ferguson is still out injured.

"Fingers crossed, we have a few less injuries to contend with this time and I'm looking forward to meeting up on Monday which gives us good preparation time for the match on Saturday."

Aston Villa striker John Carew will spearhead the Norway attack and Celtic defender Gary Caldwell is braced for a tough contest.

"He's going to be a handful," said Caldwell. "I played against him in the last campaign and he's a big guy, so we'll have to be on our guard if we want to stop him."

Scotland have their own towering target man in the shape of Chris Iwelumo, who has been called up for the first time.

Caldwell faced Iwelumo during a stint at Stoke and said: "He's a good player. He's had a great start to the season and he will bring us something different with his height and his power."




see also
First Scotland call for Iwelumo
02 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Scotland XI
10 Nov 05 |  Internationals
Knudsen set for debut at Hampden
30 Sep 08 |  Internationals


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