Moscow:The challenges aren't getting any easier for England and to extend its five-match winning streak in European qualifying, it likely will have to do it without captain John Terry.
"John Terry is almost certainly ruled out of tomorrow's match. His knee locked towards the end of training and he could not complete the session," England manager Steve McClaren said after Tuesday's training session.
The announcement, which came just hours after Terry was proclaimed fit and McClaren called the declaration "a huge bonus", will require a shuffle in England's lineup.
Sol Campbell, who usually requires longer recovery periods, may have to play for a second time in five days. England already was expecting to be without left back Ashley Cole, who had injured his ankle in Saturday's victory over Estonia.
"It's a big blow," McClaren said. "Who comes in? We've got options."
Many expect Cole to be replaced by Everton defender Joleon Lescott, who trained at left back this week. Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry will form the central midfield for a fourth straight match, with Barry again starting ahead of Frank Lampard, who prepared with the reserves and looks set to be a substitute.
A win would earn England a place in the European Championship finals for the sixth straight time.
"I think that can be danger in thinking about the finishing line too soon," McClaren said. "And that's what we don't want to do. We will focus only on what we have to do to get the result tomorrow night."
Also Russia's situation is desperate. With only two teams advancing from each group, it sits third in Group E with 18 points, five behind England and eight behind Croatia having played one game less. A victory on Wednesday is mandatory or it is eliminated.
"The pressure is on Russia. They have to win the game. They have to take risks and they are at home and have to set the tempo," McClaren said.
The sellout crowd of 80,000 will push Russia for the result.
"After we stand that early, shall we say storm, we need to get the balance and we will combine to win the game," McClaren said. "We have to score to make sure we make the balance and not defend for 90 minutes. I don't intend to do this."
"They have more experienced players. We have a young team but in key moments we can match with their team. There are high expectations from the game but we must be realistic we are not yet the leading team or within the top 8 in Europe that's also a fact. The only thing I can guarantee is a huge commitment and a huge energy level of the team," Russian coach Guus Hiddink said.
The coach is well aware of the task facing his side.