WALES Under-21s have made a strong start to their bid for European Championship qualification but boss Matty Jones knows the youngsters face a different challenge at Rodney Parade.

The Welsh youngsters are second in Group I as they hunt a spot at Euro 2025 thanks to an unbeaten three-game start on their travels.

They drew with top seeds Denmark, struck late to share the spoils in the Czech Republic and beat Lithuania 3-2.

Now they have to produce the goods in Newport against Iceland, setting the pace thanks to wins against the Czech Republic and Lithuania, tomorrow and the Danes on Tuesday (both kick-offs 6pm).

South Wales Argus: OPTIMISTIC: Wales U21 boss Matty JonesOPTIMISTIC: Wales U21 boss Matty Jones (Image: Press Association)

“We’ve played against higher-ranked teams,” said Jones. “It’s been challenging and it’s been difficult, but it’s allowed us to showcase our robustness defensively and resilience in our approach.

“Our counter-attacking ability has got us goals and results, but it slightly changes when you’re at home.

“The responsibility is on us to be creative and take the game to Iceland and Denmark. Challenges await and I’m sure the players will be prepared for it.”

Wales will feature influential Newport County AFC defender/midfielder Matt Baker after he missed the start of the campaign with a hamstring injury.

The Stoke prospect will miss the Exiles’ trip to Mansfield to play alongside Reading midfielder Charlie Savage and Wycombe defender Josh Low.

The pair made senior debuts in the 4-0 friendly victory over Gibraltar last month, two days before the 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic when Cardiff’s Cian Ashford scored a spectacular stoppage-time equaliser.

Fulham attacking midfielder Luke Harris and Dundee’s on-loan Liverpool defender Owen Beck were also part of Rob Page’s senior squad against Gibraltar.

“It shows the alignment, relationship and the unity, between the senior team and all the age groups,” said Jones “The transition between under-21 and the seniors is the most important and the pinnacle of my role, but we’re trying to be successful as an age-group as well.”