Steve Clarke will bide his time over Lyndon Dykes replacement

The Scotland boss says there's no 'like for like' replacement for the injured striker.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke will bide his time over Lyndon Dykes replacement SNS Group

Scotland manager Steve Clarke is still considering whether to call up another striker – and which one – following the withdrawal of Lyndon Dykes.

The QPR forward was ruled out of Euro 2024 on Saturday, 24 hours after suffering an ankle injury in training.

The blow leaves Clarke with only Che Adams and Lawrence Shankland as recognised centre-forwards in his 27-man squad, which needs to be cut to 26 after Scotland’s final warm-up game against Finland on Friday night.

Liverpool winger Ben Doak has played in a central attacking role for Scotland Under-21s but the 18-year-old’s club campaign was ended by a knee injury in December and he is still getting back up to speed.

Speaking at his pre-match media conference in Portugal ahead of Monday’s friendly against Gibraltar, Clarke said: “I’ve given myself two or three days just to think about it.

“There is no like-for-like replacement for Lyndon because he brings his own qualities. I don’t really believe in like for like. Lyndon brings his qualities, obviously we haven’t got them.

“I will have a little look at what’s around, I will decide what to do with the squad and we will go from there.”

When asked whether he would definitely call up another striker, Clarke said: “That’s why I am thinking about it.”

Clarke previously hinted he would look to the Scotland Under-21 squad if any late call-ups were needed.

That could put Tommy Conway in pole position given the Bristol City forward is with Scot Gemmill’s group ahead of a friendly in Turkey on Monday. The 21-year-old netted 12 goals for the Sky Bet Championship side last season.

However, Clarke is mulling over other scenarios as well as looking to the under-21s.

“Possibly, but not necessarily, that’s what I would do,” he said. “It’s something that we think about all the time. We like to have a connection with the Scottish young team. I like to show there is a pathway to the A squad from the Under-21s.

“But obviously you have got to consider all options and that’s what I will do.”

Clarke’s main concern in recent days has been dealing with the loss of Dykes, who has scored nine goals in 36 internationals.

“We are all really disappointed for Lyndon, obviously,” he said. “The boys that got injured earlier get a little bit more time to get over it. Lyndon’s is right at the last minute before we go to the tournament.

“And he’s been a good player for us, a pivotal player. One of the best telephone conversations I ever had was when I phoned him up and gave him the option to come and play for Scotland rather than Australia. Thankfully he chose us.

“That was four years ago and I think the path the national team has been on since then has been mainly an upward trend. Grateful for what he has done up until now, sad that he misses this tournament, but I look forward to working with him again in the future.”

Dykes was carried off on a stretcher during Friday’s training session.

“It was an ankle injury,” Clarke said. “No contact, just the way he landed, the way he fell on it. It happens, unfortunately. Earlier in the session, Lyndon made a similar movement and nothing happened. It’s just the way it is.

“You have to be quite resilient as a coach, a manager and a player and realise things move forward, and that’s what we have done.”

Other than Dykes, Clarke has a full squad after the likes of Greg Taylor and Scott McKenna met up after additional time off, but some players will be given further time to overcome injuries.

“Stuart Armstrong, Scott McTominay and John Souttar won’t play this game but I am pretty confident they will all be good for the next game,” Clarke said.

“For me it’s a chance to get some minutes on the pitch for some players, maybe a slightly unfamiliar line-up in terms of people starting the game.

“We’ve still got one or two people coming back from a longer-term injury so we are careful to manage minutes.

“It’s a little bit of a balancing act to make sure we get a good performance and a good result.

“Some of them maybe didn’t get the minutes they wanted towards the end of the club season so hopefully we can give them some that get them up to speed for the tournament itself.”

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