National Head coach Leo Beenhakker has called up American MLS striker Cornell Glen as a replacement for the injured Kenwyne Jones in the squad to face Bahrain next Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Glen was informed of this on Saturday and will be part of the 21-man squad which will assemble at the Crowne Plaza on Monday with training scheduled to begin the next day at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Jones was forced to miss the trip due to a hamstring injury sustained last week and medical reports from Southampton FC left Beenhakker with no choice but to replace him.
Also coming off a head knock was goalkeeper Shaka Hislop who went off in the 60th minute in Saturday’s 1-0 win over West Brom.
But he later confirmed that the blow was not a serious one.
“I had to go off because I began feeling wobbly at the time and a headache came on. I’ll have to monitor it for the rest of the day but I’m certain I will be fine and ready for the game next Saturday,” Hislop told TTFF Media.
There was also good news with no other T&T player coming away with any injuries on Saturday. Jason Scotland netted a 28th minute winner for St Johnstone in their 1-0 win over Airdrie and skipper Dwight Yorke also scored in the 9th minute as Sydney FC trounced Central Coast Mariners 5-1. Russell Latapy’s Falkirk faces Celtic today (Sunday). A fit Brent Sancho was expected home on Saturday while Chris Birchall and Dennis Lawrence are scheduled in on Sunday with the other overseas pros expected on Monday. Yorke comes in on Tuesday.
Beenhakker meantime, said he had to pay all respects to the players on the current team even though the doors will not be closed on others eligible of representing the country.
“I always said from the beginning that we will not close the door on any players who can get Trinidad passport and may be able to help us. On the other hand, more than ever I have to respect the players who brought us to where we are now. We have to handle all this stuff very carefully. All the 25 players have responded very well. The main part is they are all responding better. So first of all I want to show all my respect and protect the players that have done the job until now,” he said
When asked whether there will be any changes in approach to the game on Saturday against Bahrain, the Dutchman instantly shrugged off the need for any switch in the set about.
“No! From the beginning we did what we could do. It’s always the same. The guys are traveling on Monday . Based on what happened today I can tell you it’s a hell of a trip. We will use Tuesday to get them on their feet again. We have more or less Wednesday and Thursday to make good and serious training in relation to our team and Bahrain team. Then Friday we have only one final session which is just a warm up for the match.
“There’s not much time but we did it before for Panama and Mexico and Guatemala and Costa Rica, It’s amazing we have reached the playoffs, the last three, with all my respect, everyone wants be involved now. We everybody wants to do something and to go there and to be worried about that player. Hey just let us do our job. We did it from the beginning within possibilities we had with our overseas guys and in that way we don’t do anything special other things from the preparations to beat Panama and Mexico. We have only a few days together and we have to do it that way,” he added.
He added that he will protect the team members and as such the media will not be invited to every session this week. He also touched on the styles of both teams
“The only thing you can say is that it is two teams with two different styles. We try to play football from behind and we get the opportunity when we have the ball to come up in front with many players. I don’t like to play on a counter attacking. Generally their play is based on very solid defense with a lot of players behind the ball and looking for the opportunity to go on the counter attack That’s not our style. I will not change our style. I don’t think I have to change our style.”
Asked to give a message to the public, the former Real Madrid chief said “ I think that all the fans and public have the right to be excited. I love the way they reacted in the last few matches at home. They gave us a great support and the team needs it and appreciates it. There are many people already and it’s okay because you can have your dreams, but most of them, within their mind, they are already in Germany. Wait a moment, the last few weeks I had a lot of questions on what are we going to do in January, what about the camps and the friendly matches. But wait, this is football and you first have to win and you have first have to be there. I respect all the excitement and I love the way the fans are living with it but from our side we have to protect the team and day hey we have two very tough jobs to do still.”