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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 5 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 12, 2009

Marshall to keep goal for Scotland

George Burley will take some of the biggest gambles of his Scotland career for the qualifying game in Norway, axing talisman James McFadden and handing David Marshall the role of Craig Gordon's replacement in goal.

The Scotland boss is also set to unleash an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with his country's hopes of qualification to next summer's World Cup finals set to go down to the wire.

Not only has Cardiff keeper Marshall been recalled almost five years after winning just his second cap but left-back Callum Davidson also looks set for a starting place.

Burley insisted on Tuesday that he has not yet announced his final starting 11 but the manager looks set to play wide men Kris Commons and Ross McCormack on either flank with Rangers striker Kenny Miller spearheading a three-pronged frontline.

There is also set to be a surprise midfield holding role for Graham Alexander, who is expected to get the nod ahead of Paul Hartley, and Parkhead star Scott Brown will make his first start of the season in a central role alongside Manchester United's Darren Fletcher.

Protecting Marshall will be a back four of Alan Hutton, brothers Gary and Steven Caldwell, and Davidson.

It's another bold selection from Burley, who admitted yesterday he has faced some of the toughest decisions of his 18 months in charge as he attempts to put together a side capable of clinching victory .

The manager surprised many by leaving David Weir out of his original 23-man squad - a group that was already minus banned Boozegate duo Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor.

And he is aware of the possible repercussions should his choices backfire tonight.

Burley spoke to glove rivals Marshall and Neil Alexander yesterday at the team hotel to explain why the former Celtic man has won the battle of the back-ups to replace injured Sunderland No. 1 Gordon.

And he later admitted piecing this side together has been one of the biggest tests of his managerial career.

Burley said: "As a manager my job is to make decisions.

"It's difficult and you are not always going to please people when you leave them out but the great thing for a manager is to have options.

"I have spoken to the goalkeepers and have told them my decision but I have not announced the rest of the team.

"All I can do is stick to what I believe in and stick to my own philosophies. We are here to cause Norway problems and to win this match. We are not thinking about anything else."

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