Football: Kinnear tipped for Wales

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The Independent Online
JOE KINNEAR has emerged as the bookmakers' favourite to become the new Wales coach. Kinnear resigned as Wimbledon manager last week after a period of convalescence following a heart attack. It is believed that Celtic were preparing to offer him a senior position, but that may depend on the outcome of a takeover bid at the Glasgow club.

Bookmakers were yesterday offering odds of 2-1 for Kinnear to succeed Bobby Gould, who resigned after Wales's 4-0 defeat to Italy in Bologna on Saturday. The former Blackburn manager Roy Hodgson is second favourite at 7-2, followed by the former Wales and Everton captain, Kevin Ratcliffe, at 4-1.

The current Wales captain, Gary Speed, spoke warmly of Gould yesterday, while looking forward to the partnership of Neville Southall and Mark Hughes. "I don't think Bobby can take any blame for the result in Bologna," Speed said. "He's worked ever so hard for Wales and it's always unfortunate that these things happen. But hopefully with Sparky and Nev in charge it will give us the impetus to prove we are a good team and can get some pride back."

Wales take on Denmark at Anfield on Wednesday, when Ryan Giggs will have another chance to say farewell to his former Manchester United team-mate, Peter Schmeichel. "Peter is looking forward to playing against me," Giggs said. "I've spoken to him briefly about the game, and told him I'm going to score against him."

If raw courage is what the Welsh need, then a tale from the Under-21 side's defeat to Italy last Friday should provide some encouragement. The Norwich striker Chris Llewellyn played for over an hour of the match with a broken arm. The Welsh Under-21 coach, Tom Walley, said: "He's a brave lad."