England vs Montenegro - Match preview and team news
For England to guarantee their place in next year’s World Cup, they must win their final two Group H matches. They take on Poland at home on Tuesday, but first, Montenegro visit Wembley.
Having drawn four of their eight games, England hold a narrow one-point lead over Friday’s opponents, and Ukraine, with whom they drew in Kiev last time out. Manager Roy Hodgson has been positive over his side’s chances in recent days, but he knows that maximum points must be taken to avoid the play-offs, or even missing out altogether.
Unlike for the two games in September, Hodgson has a near fully-fit squad available, with Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott the only notable absentees. While Leighton Baines is set to play his biggest two games at international level, it will be up to strikers Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to produce the fine form that they have been showing for their clubs.
England will know by now that Montenegro are a difficult team to beat. With the likes of Steven Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic, they have gained draws in each of the three previous meetings between the sides. Hodgson has promised a big performance, and everything must come to fruition, with the teams behind England ready to pounce if points are dropped.
Joe Hart will be in goal despite his club form being heavily scrutinised, while Phil Jagielka Gary Cahill should remain partnered together in central defence, with England likely to go with experience in order to make it to Brazil.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on England vs Montenegro