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England not in soggy Montenegro for a draw says Hodgson

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

PODGORICA (Reuters) - England have not travelled to Montenegro to play for a draw in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, said manager Roy Hodgson.

The former World Cup winners are two points behind Montenegro in Group H having played half of the fixtures with Ukraine and Poland a further six points adrift with a game in hand.

Hodgson said his side would not set up defensively against Montenegro despite fears over the state of the pitch following a downpour and the possibility of being five points behind the tiny Adriatic nation and staring second place in the face.

"We don't play for draws and we haven't played for any draws yet," Hodgson told a news conference on Monday.

"We certainly won't be playing for a draw tomorrow and we have enough attacking qualities in the team and we'll be trying to use those qualities.

"We're here to play and I'm convinced we'll play well."

Hodgson, who took over in May last year, just ahead of Euro 2012, laughed off Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic's comments earlier on Monday that England were already making excuses for a possible defeat.

"I should think it's mind games. I don't think there's too much doubt about that," said the vastly experienced Hodgson.

"I'm surprised he thinks defeat won't hurt Montenegro. Most coaches feel defeats hurt them. If he's suggesting we should accept the burden of being favourites then we'll accept it," added the 65-year-old.

"It's not a problem for us. We're confident and we've got good players."

England have no injury concerns ahead of the key clash and nor is Hodgson worried about his side's discipline given striker Wayne Rooney was sent off the last time the two nations met in Podgorica.

"Wayne's disciplinary record since then has been outstanding. We always do talk about discipline, it comes up quite often. I do trust the players and I won't be making a particular point of it."

(Writing by Tom Pilcher in London, Editing by Tobyb Davis)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130325/england-not-soggy-montenegro-draw-says-hodgson