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National team gathers ahead of Slovakia clash

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Drulović gives out instructions; photo: sportmedia.mkDrulović gives out instructions; photo: sportmedia.mkFrom the 23 players called up, 18 were present by the time Macedonia began its first training session in the evening.

Several players showed up at the team hotel early in the afternoon on Friday, but most of the remaining group came later. The first training was scheduled for 19:00 CET, so many of the guys showed up as that hour got closer.

Eventually, at the start of the training, 18 of the 23 called-up players were present. Muarem was missing because his transfer to Eskişehirspor took place a day later than expected. So, he didn't arrive on time. Muarem, however, should be available on Saturday.

Meanwhile, four other players in Ferhan Hasani, Ostoja Stjepanovikj, Leonard Zhuta and Aleksandar Todorovski were excused due to club obligations. They are all expected to show up no later than Monday, June 8.

One potential problem for manager Ljubinko Drulović is that CF Jovan Kostovski complained of some pain. He took part in the lighter session of Friday's training, but then sat on the sidelines in the more intensive aspect of the training. He received treatment from the medical staff. It will be known on Saturday whether Kostovski will be available for the Slovakia game. That's when he will undergo a medical exam. If Jovan can't go, then we'll see if Drulović plans to name a replacement.

Players catch up; photo: sportmedia.mkPlayers catch up; photo: sportmedia.mk

The atmosphere was good and there were no issues between Drulović and the ethnic Albanian players. Many of the players seemed rejuvenated after the departure of Boshko Gjurovski. This is a new coaching staff, so the players must prove themselves all over again.

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