McClaren keeps faith in deep England
England coach Steve McClaren has expressed confidence that his side can get through Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia without captain John Terry and leading goalscorer Michael Owen.
The pair are highly doubtful for this month's double-header, Terry having fractured his cheekbone at the weekend while Owen is recovering from surgery to repair a stomach muscle tear.
"We have coped without players before," McClaren said on Monday. "We will do so again."
The head coach is still hoping however that Terry and Owen will be ready in time for the 13 and 17 October matches, and both are certain to be includced in the squad he will announce on Friday.
"We will have to see what the outcome of the operations are and take it day-by-day," he said. "They are both very confident in coming back and playing very quickly. But, as we all know with injuries and rehabilitation, things can go wrong."
The Estonia match on the 13th could be Owen's comeback appearance but Terry is considering a return to duty in Chelsea's UEFA Champions League match in Valencia on Wednesday.
Even if Owen is on course to be fit, McClaren is expected to increase his options in attack by including West Ham's Dean Ashton in his squad.
Ashton could potentially start alongside Owen in the Estonia match with Wayne Rooney shunted in to a wide role on the left at the expense of Joe Cole.
Rooney missed England's last two games through injury and his position in the side has been put in doubt following the convincing 3-0 wins over Israel and Russia.
They were achieved with Owen partnered by Emile Heskey but the big Wigan forward has since broken a metatarsal bone and will not be available.