Hodgson targets 10 points from final four games

The Three Lions boss believes the side will have to win all three of their home matches and avoid defeat away to Ukraine in order to book their place in next summer’s World Cup

Roy Hodgson has set his England side a target of 10 points from their four remaining 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The Three Lions currently sit second in Group E, two points behind leaders Montenegro with a game in hand, and take on Moldova at Wembley on Friday before travelling to face Ukraine next Tuesday.

With Montenegro and Poland set to visit in October, the former West Brom boss believes maximum points on home turf and a draw in their one remaining away trip will be enough to secure qualification.

“I would say we need 10 points from four games as long as we don’t lose to Ukraine and we beat Montenegro,” the 66-year-old told reporters.

Hodgson confirmed that in-form Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is unavailable for Friday’s match due to injury, offering Rickie Lambert another opportunity to shine, after hitting the back of the net within minutes of entering the field on his debut against Scotland.

“We won’t know until training on Sunday if Daniel Sturridge will be fit for Ukraine game,” he admitted.

“Steven Caulker also turned his ankle in training and will be out of game against Moldova, but should be ok for Ukraine.

“We’ve not been lucky with injuries, we’ve lost five players, but it’s an opportunity for others and up to them to do a job.

“I have picked the team and Rickie Lambert will start. He deserves a chance.

“I can’t deny had Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge had been available, it would have been harder for him to get a starting place but I am more than happy to have a player of his calibre to start this game.”

Captain Steven Gerrard was in an optimistic mood ahead of the double-header, and suggested a strong performance similar to last September’s 5-0 win in Moldova would set the side up for a morale-boosting pair of results.

“The quality of the squad is fantastic and the manager is happy with the way we have prepared,” the Liverpool midfielder explained.

“The game in Moldova was won at half time. Hopefully we can do the same tomorrow, we are confident we can get job done.

“We’ve still got to beat Moldova and be professional against them at Wembley. Two good performances can lift the country.”

The 33-year-old was particularly hopeful that Sturridge returns in time for the trip to Kiev, with his Liverpool team-mate having scored the winning goal in all three of the Reds’ Premier League games this season.

“The stage is set for Daniel, fingers crossed the injury settles down and he’s available for Ukraine as he makes us stronger,” he concluded.

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