Football: Gould to experiment with Wales

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The Independent Online
Bobby Gould will be looking to the future in Wales' last World Cup qualifier in Belgium on 11 October. Wales cannot qualify for the finals in France, but if they beat Belgium in Brussels and Turkey win in the Netherlands the same night they could have a say in who takes the second place play-off place.

But the Welsh manager will be aiming to give new players the chance to prove themselves with next season's European Championship qualifiers in mind, and it seems likely he will turn to Bolton's Nathan Blake and West Ham's John Hartson as the new-look partnership up front.

Veteran Mark Hughes and skipper Gary Speed are both suspended, giving Gould the ideal chance to experiment.

Leicester's Robbie Savage, who scored on his full debut in Turkey, and Wimbledon's Ceri Hughes are likely to be handed midfield places with either Paul Jones or Andy Marriott taking over in goal from 39-year-old Neville Southall.

Gould said: "I know that Neville has not been playing for Everton recently while they try out Paul Gerrard but I am sure the old bastard will tell me he's still worth his place. You can't see him giving it up easily.

"But he knows I have to try younger players just like Everton and all I want is to do it with respect and care."

On the possibility of a Hartson-Blake strike force Gould said: "The pair have been on fire in the Premiership and both scored for Wales in their last internationals. So too did Dean Saunders in Turkey so I have a difficult choice to make there."

Gould had included Blackburn's Chris Coleman in the party but accepts that he is not yet fit enough to figure in the side. Coleman played his first game for a year in a reserve match against Stoke last Thursday after rupturing an Achilles tendon.

Gould said: "I want him to feel involved, maybe to have a change of scenery and give him a lift after what he's been through. I have talked to Roy Hodgson the Blackburn manager and he is happy for Chris to come with us.

"He will have his own training routine from Blackburn. We won't interfere with that but it will be good to have him back with us."

Gould has also included Ryan Giggs, who is battling to overcome a hamstring injury. Manchester United are trying to get Giggs fit to play in tomorrow's European Cup tie with Juventus.

He said: "I have talked to Alex Ferguson and he says that Ryan's hamstring is still a bit tight but they are hopeful. We will wait and see how he comes through that game first."

WALES SQUAD (v Belgium in World Cup Group Seven match in Brussels on 11 October): Southall (Everton), P Jones (Southampton), Marriott (Wrexham), Jenkins (Huddersfield), Symons (Man City), Page (Watford), Williams (Wolves), Ready (QPR), Edwards (Bristol City), Robinson (Charlton), Savage (Crewe), Pembridge (Sheff Wed), Hughes (Wimbledon), Giggs (Man Utd), Hartson (West Ham), Blake (Bolton), Saunders (Nottm Forest), L Jones (Tranmere), Trollope (Derby), Coleman (Blackburn).