Football: Wales short of strikers

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE selection 'problem' that normally faces Wales - how to play Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs and Dean Saunders in the same team - was turned on its head yesterday when their manager, Mike Smith, discovered the withdrawal of Rush meant that all four were unavailable for the European Championship qualifier in Moldova.

Losing the quartet is a blow to Smith, who already knew that Hughes and the suspended Saunders were non- starters for Wednesday's Group Seven match.

The loss of Rush, who has aggravated a knee injury, was the last, unwelcome news for Smith after Giggs was withdrawn late on Friday after his calf injury flared up again in training. 'We're without the big four, but we will have to cope without them,' the manager Smith said. He is left with only Iwan Roberts and Nathan Blake as recognised strikers, and neither has scored an international goal.

Scotland will be captained for the sixth time by Paul McStay when they face the Faroe Islands at Hampden, following the withdrawal of Gary McAllister from the squad.

Steve Morrow, the Arsenal defender, has pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad after picking up a knee injury.

Alan Kelly, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, was withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Liechtenstein on Wednesday because of damage to his left hand.