In-form Johnny Russell gets late Scotland call from Strachan
Gordon Strachan has called Derby County forward Johnny Russell up to the Scotland squad for their British Isles double header against the Republic of Ireland and England, following injury to Pride Park teammate Craig Bryson.
The Scots are 13/10 chances with Coral to advance from Euro 2016 qualifying Group D and reach the France finals. Former Dundee United attacker Russell, 24, has scored four goals in as many matches recently across all competitions, and that fine form has brought about his first squad selection since 2012.
When Scotland take on the Republic of Ireland on November 14th, there will be a Rams flavour in both camps. Russell joins understudy left back Craig Forsyth and substitute striker Chris Martin on Strachan’s roster, while Martin O’Neill regularly calls up County captain Richard Keogh and central midfielder Jeff Hendrick, who have been joined by uncapped defender Cyrus Christie.
Both Russell and Hendrick bagged braces in Derby’s 5-0 demolition of Wolves in the Championship in the final match before this last international break of the calendar year. The pair both have five goals apiece in all competitions for Steve McClaren.
Strachan has also called up uncapped Hearts right back Callum Paterson to cover for injured Stoke City counterpart Phil Bardsley. Paterson, 20, can also play as a forward and is the second player from Scottish Championship to be included on this roster after Rangers winger Lewis Macleod.
In other Home Nations news, on-loan Ipswich Town midfielder Jonny Williams is an injury doubt for Wales’ crunch Group B qualifier in Belgium after being forced off in the win over Watford.
Crystal Palace-owned left-footer Williams, 21, was on the receiving end of a foul from Joel Ekstrand, which drew the ire of Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy. “The tackle on Jonny was an awful challenge and it could have been a red,” he said after Ipswich’s 1-0 victory.
Wales coach Chris Coleman is already short in midfield, because of a serious knee injury to Wolves’ Dave Edwards and Andy King (Leicester City) is serving an international ban.
The Dragons also have dearth in the out-and-out striking department, with Simon Church (Charlton Athletic) out through a damaged collarbone and Sam Vokes (Burnley) on the mend after a lengthy lay-off.