Bellamy court date may disrupt Wales' Euro preparations

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The Independent Online

Craig Bellamy could step from court straight into Wales' European Championship campaign next month. The Liverpool striker has been named in John Toshack's squad for the Group D qualifiers in Cardiff on 7 and 11 October against Slovakia and Cyprus, despite facing a potential three-day court appearance between the matches. Bellamy is due to face trial in Cardiff on an assault charge - which he denies - and that could disrupt Toshack's planning for the Cyprus match.

But Toshack hopes to have Bellamy at the squad's headquarters throughout the trial, and is even considering arranging training sessions to accommodate the 27-year-old's availability. And there is the prospect of Bellamy walking from court to the nearby Millennium Stadium to play.

Toshack says: "We have the situation with Bellamy. It will be no problem in the week leading up to Slovakia on the Saturday, although I know he must be concerned about what is going to happen. But in the days before we play Cyprus on the Wednesday, we know he will be in court. That must be playing on his mind.

"I would hope and expect him to play in both matches, knowing him as I do. But it is something we will have to think about. I am not sure how we will handle the training situation with Craig. He will be in court while we are working, I will look into how we manage that."

Toshack needs Bellamy to be involved, considering that he is unlikely to have the captain Ryan Giggs - who is struggling with a hamstring problem despite being named in the squad. It is likely that the veteran goalkeeper Paul Jones will take over as captain, earning his 50th cap in the match against Slovakia.

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