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International friendly: Nigeria Vs Scotland

Shaun Maloney is back in the Scotland squad after an injury-hit season

International friendly

  • Venue: Craven Cottage, London
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 May
  • Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Hard graft and organisation are the key factors as Scotland aim to extend an unbeaten run to six matches against Nigeria, according to Shaun Maloney.

Scotland take on the World Cup-bound Super Eagles in a friendly at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Wednesday.

“I don’t think there is a player that we can afford not to have working or tracking back,” said Wigan’s Maloney.

“Nobody is good enough to be a luxury player and I don’t think this manager would stand for that anyway.”

Gordon Strachan’s side failed to reach the summer’s World Cup but a sequence of four wins out of their last five games has lifted spirits ahead of the European Championship qualifying campaign, which starts in Germany on 7 September.

Derby trio Craig Bryson, Chris Martin and Craig Forsyth were given extra time off following Saturday’s Championship play-off loss to QPR.

But they will be vying with the recalled Maloney for places in London.

Hip and back problems meant Maloney missed the majority of this season and the 31-year-old is raring to go, having won the last of his 31 caps when scoring in a 2-1 win away to Macedonia last September.

“I was desperate to get in the squad. I’ve only played five or six games towards the end of the season so I’m not feeling fatigued and I’m just happy to be here,” he said.

“It’s been brilliant – it’s five games unbeaten and there’s been a pretty big turnaround in terms of results.

“Even the last time I was in the squad you could feel a change in terms of the belief and it’s carried on over the season.

“The manager works hard on the shape of the team and the time we spend with him in training is very tactical in terms of shape.

Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose

Celtic defender Ambrose is going to the World Cup with Nigeria

“The players go out there and know their job – the games I’ve watched and played under him for Scotland we’ve just been harder to beat.”

Nigeria have been drawn in World Cup Group F alongside Argentina, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina and include Celtic defender Efe Ambrose and former Kilmarnock midfielder Reuben Gabriel in their squad.

Stephen Keshi’s side, crowned champions of Africa last year, welcome back Stoke forward Peter Odemwingie , who has not represented his country since February 2012.

Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee believes Nigeria will be extremely motivated at Craven Cottage and is demanding another strong performance from his players.

“They’ll be in absolutely top form mentally – they’re going to a World Cup in Brazil, we wish it was us and we’re hugely jealous of that,” McGhee said.

“It’s really important that we maintain a level of performance.

“That’s one of the things that’s pleased me regardless of results – of course results are everything and they are going to be critical when it comes to qualifying for Euro 2016.

“But a consistent level of performance brings results so it’s important we end this season in the same sort of tone.”

Aberdeen pair Mark Reynolds and Peter Pawlett were called up following withdrawals from James McArthur, Gary Caldwell, Graham Dorrans and Darren Fletcher.

Norwich duo Robert Snodgrass and Russell Martin have been rested, along with Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam, while injury rules out Celtic winger James Forrest and Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Cammy Bell (Rangers), Matt Gilks (Blackpool), David Marshall (Cardiff City), Allan McGregor (Hull City).

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town), Craig Forsyth (Derby County), Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Dundee United), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Watford), Barry Bannan (Crystal Palace), George Boyd (Hull City), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Bryson (Derby County), Chris Burke (Birmingham City), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic), Chris Martin (Derby County), Ross McCormack (Leeds United), Steven Naismith (Everton).

Nigeria provisional World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Daniel Akpeyi (Warri Wolves), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United).

Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich, on loan from Fenerbahce), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Joel Obi (Parma), Nnamdi Oduamadi (Varese), Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis), Sunday Mba (Bastia), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce); Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Victor Moses (Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen).

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