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Club versus country conflict brewing for Albion
Albion are bracing themselves for a club versus country conflict with Scotland at the start of the season.
The Seagulls launch their campaign away to Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday August 14.
Scotland host Australia in an international at Easter Road the following night, leaving Albion striker Craig Mackail-Smith facing a potential fixture clash.
Team-mates Gordon Greer, inset, and Liam Bridcutt have also been mooted for call-ups by the Scots. Albion boss Gus Poyet normally encourages his players to play for their countries but he is baffled by the timing of the Scotland friendly.
The Uruguayan told The Argus: “If it was a South American team or nation not close to England maybe we would understand but being Scotland, which is next door, and knowing that the Cup starts on the 14th, if you want to play a game on the 15th then you’ve got a massive problem. It shouldn’t be there.”
Although the game against Australia is only a friendly it is the last match for the Scots before they kick off their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign against Serbia at Hampden Park on September 8, so Craig Levein will be keen to have the strongest squad possible at his disposal.
Tournament qualifiers are built into the English fixture list and Poyet would have no objection if Mackail-Smith, Greer and Bridcutt all got the call in such circumstances.
“I’ve got no problem at all in international weeks or normal weeks where it doesn’t affect our preparation,” he said. “It would be great for them.”
Mackail-Smith earned his seventh cap for Scotland as a substitute in the USA at the end of May before a break in New Zealand to visit a relative. He was on Stuart Pearce’s shortlist for Team GB but asked not to be considered for the Olympics to concentrate on helping Scotland reach the World Cup.