HUDDERSFIELD Town striker Jordan Rhodes’ stunning scoring exploits continued last night but he could not help Scotland’s Under 21 side to victory in Bulgaria.
The 22-year-old scored twice to take his tally for the Under 21 side to eight, but Scotland were denied a Euro 2013 qualifying victory by an injury-time goal as Bulgaria salvaged a 2-2 draw.
Georgi Milanov fired the hosts in front in the 33rd minute, but Rhodes headed Scotland level midway through the second half and the striker’s late second looked like it would seal victory for the visitors.
But Georgi Kostadinov pulled Bulgaria level and, though the Scots now top Group 10, the Netherlands can return to the summit when they play Luxembourg – their game in hand to be played in Ettelbruck tonight.
Meanwhile, Town manager Simon Grayson accepts he’s got some tricky juggling of cash and potential targets in the next few weeks.
The Galpharm boss cut eight players from a squad he believed was too big – but is determined not to lose out on quality in the personnel list for 2012-13.
“It’s a matter of putting together the best squad possible – with the best quality – while working within the budget provided by Dean (Hoyle, chairman) and Nigel (chief executive, Clibbens)” said Grayson.
“Going up to the Championship clearly meant some players would be leaving, that’s how it is.
“I did think we had too big a squad and it needed to be reduced. It’s now a matter of creating another team and squad which can do the business at the next level, develop and progress.”
Town have offered new contracts to Ian Bennett, Tom Clarke, Alan Lee, Damien Johnson and young keeper Lloyd Allinson, while retaining Nick Colgan as academy goalkeeping coach.
Released were Danny Cadamarteri, Nathan Clarke, Tommy Miller, Gary Naysmith, Gary Roberts, Canadian keeper Simon Thomas and youngsters Aidan Chippendale and Greg Pearson.
Grayson believes (because of the size of the squad) some of the younger Town players may have been stifled in their progress, and he has pledged to try and provide loan moves to keep them on track.
He has no plans, however, to return to league football for a reserve team, believing development matches offer the necessary flexibility and competition.
“We can play the sort of opposition we want when we want and that gives us control over what we need in terms of games,” he explained.
“A lot of them take place behind closed doors, but when we get things sorted out down at Canalside and the pitches are in place, I would have no problem with opening up some of the games to the public.
“The only difference would be if I wanted to sneak in a trialist or two who I didn’t want people to know about – then we’d keep it under wraps.”