Wigan boss Bruce slams international friendlies

Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce has slammed this week's international friendlies.

Bruce's anger at having so little time to prepare his squad for such a crucial game has been compounded by the news he may have to do without key men Mario Melchiot and Marlon King.

Right-back Melchiot limped out of Holland's 3-0 win in Croatia with a thigh problem, leaving Bruce to wait anxiously for the results of a scan.

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King, meanwhile, will not even return from international duty with Jamaica until Friday, after the striker played 90 minutes in his country's draw with Costa Rica in Kingston.

With influential forward Emile Heskey rated only "50/50" by Bruce to travel to the Stadium of Light due a back injury, the potential loss of King to jetlag would be a particularly bitter pill for the Wigan boss to swallow.

And he is adamant it is not a position he should be faced with.

"I can't believe people can have international friendlies at a time like this when there are 'six-pointers' up for grabs," he complained.

"I can understand get-togethers, but quite what we get out of international friendlies is beyond me - you never gain anything from them and you are left to pick up the pieces when you should be preparing for a game properly.

"Unfortunately, we've had players flying off all over the world for friendlies. It's ridiculous.

"Of course we want the international team to do well, everyone respects national teams, but do we really get anything out of friendly games?"

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