Strachan hopes for call-offs reprieve

GORDON STRACHAN is today keeping his fingers crossed that Scotland is enjoying a change of luck.

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The new national team boss named a squad of 28 players for Wednesday's friendly against Estonia.

And, as he began to welcome his men to the team HQ just outside Aberdeen, the indications were that he had not suffered the flurry of call-offs which have so afflicted previous Scot-land bosses, especially when non-competitive matches were involved.

Strachan requested that, even if players were carrying niggles or knocks, he wanted them to make the effort to come along this week because he wanted the chance to meet them all and introduce them to the plans he has for the future.

With little time before the World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Serbia next month, Strachan plans to look at all of his players in training over the next three days, and see as many of them as possible in action against Estonia.

But, he is aware of the concerns of some managers – including Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who have massive games coming up and do not want their players to be over-worked or exposed to unnecessary risk at this stage of the season.

For other managers, there is delight at the fact Strachan has included their players in his first squad.

Birmingham's Chris Burke – who has been watched by Strachan for several weeks – falls into that category.

He won his only two caps six years ago and celebrated his recall by scoring both goals in his side's 2-1 win away to Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

Manager Lee Clark said: "Chris is back to his form of last season when he was the best player in the Championship."

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