Football: Giggs likely to lead Wales

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The Independent Online
Ryan Giggs is favourite to be named Wales' captain for their final World Cup qualifier in Belgium on Saturday, but it will only be a one- match appointment.

Gould needs to decide on a new captain because Gary Speed, who led the side for the first time in Turkey last month, is suspended. Mark Hughes, who would almost certainly have been next in line to lead his country, is also suspended.

If he is chosen, the Manchester United winger would become the second- youngest Welsh captain in history, after Mike England who was given the honour when he was 22.

Gould said: "I don't want to make any announcement just yet. I hear what is being said about Ryan, but we don't fly out to Belgium until Thursday and we have a couple more training sessions before then."

The Republic of Ireland captain, Andy Townsend, has pulled out of the World Cup game against Romania on Saturday.

The 33-year-old Middlesbrough midfielder is to have a scan after a knee injury in the First Division game against Sheffield United on Sunday.

Tommy Wright and Danny Griffin are out of Northern Ireland's squad for Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Portugal. Wright, the Manchester City goalkeeper, has suffered a recurrence of a persistent thigh strain. Griffin, the St Johnstone full-back, has an ankle problem.

The manager, Bryan Hamilton, brings in Chester defender Iain Jenkins and the Blackburn goalkeeper Alan Fettis.