Injury-hit Wales look to Football League for reinforcements
BELEAGURED boss Chris Coleman has been forced to call up a host of Football League players for Wales’ World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium.
Under-fire Coleman, whose contract ends in November, is without star men Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley and Joe Allen for Friday’s home clash with Macedonia in Cardiff.
Sam Ricketts, Adam Matthews, Ben Davies , Danny Gabbidon and Jack Collison are also out through injury and Brighton’s Andrew Crofts is suspended for the match with Macedonia but will be available for the trip to Belgium on Tuesday.
The replacements called up yesterday were Lloyd Isgrove of Southampton, Owain Tudur Jones of Hibernian, Swansea City’s Danny Alfei, James Wilson of Bristol City, Rhoys Wiggins of Charlton Athletic,
Crystal Palace striker Jermaine Easter, Sean MacDonald of AFC Bournemouth, David Cotterill from Doncaster Rovers and Swansea’s Jazz Richards, who is currently on loan at Huddersfield Town.
Wilson is a 24-year-old defender from Chepstow, currently on loan at League Two Cheltenham Town from Bristol City.
He could be in line for a first cap alongside 20-year-old Isgrove, a winger who was born in Yeovil and came through the Southampton academy.
Defenders Wiggins and Alfei are two more players who have not featured for Wales at senior level.
Richards has two caps, while strikers Easter and Cotterill both return after long spells in the international wilderness.
Davies suffered a suspected hamstring injury late in Swansea's 2-0 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, while Matthews hurt his collarbone playing for Celtic and Gabbidon (hamstring) missed Palace's trip to Liverpool two days ago.
Coleman will also need to keep monitoring the fitness of key defender Ashley Williams, who has been troubled recently by an ankle ligament problem, and Arsenal ace Aaron Ramsey, who picked up a knock against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Wales currently prop up their qualifying group, having collected just six points from eight games, and there is considerable speculation about Coleman's future as Wales boss.
The former Fulham manager had agreed terms on a two-year contract extension prior to last month's defeats to Macedonia and Serbia, but the deal remains unsigned, with the FAW wanting to evaluate performances over the final two World Cup qualifiers.
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