Bellamy won't be distracted by the transfer talk, says Toshack

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The Independent Football

John Toshack admits he would not be surprised if clubs were "sniffing about" over the future of Craig Bellamy. The Wales manager will name the Blackburn Rovers striker in his attack against a Basque representative team in Bilbao's San Mames stadium today.

Bellamy should also play against Trinidad & Tobago in Graz, Austria, next Saturday, but when he returns to Britain his future will again be the subject of growing speculation. Bellamy is thought to be a player who has impressed the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, while Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea have also been linked with him.

But Toshack does not believe the 26-year-old will be affected by the speculation. "Craig is always bubbly when he is with us, his attitude is always very good," he said. "He was unfortunate he has picked up injuries and that has been frustrating for Blackburn as well as us. He has always wanted to get involved from day one. I have not noticed any real difference with him here.

"I think he has a clause in his contract that for a certain amount of money he can move on. Blackburn will obviously be very keen to keep him because he has been instrumental in their run in the Premier League this season. I don't know about his situation but I would not be surprised if there were a few clubs sniffing about there."

Toshack has praised the contribution of both Bellamy and his captain, Ryan Giggs, to the trip to northern Spain. "Their efforts in training have been excellent while the contribution of the younger players has also been great. We have seen three left-sided players - Lewin Nyatanga, Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley, who are 17, 16 and 19 - working with such confidence. They have moved the ball around in training exceptionally well and give me great confidence for a unit down the left which we could have for years to come."

The Portsmouth youngster Richard Duffy is out with a recurrence of the knee injury which wrecked his season. The 20-year-old has had a scan on his swollen left knee after pulling up in training at Real Sociedad's complex in San Sebastian.

Duffy has just completed a year's loan spell at Coventry and returned to Pompey - to receive encouraging words from the manager, Harry Redknapp, about his future. Duffy said: "I have had this problem for a while. I felt it go again in training and it is not going to be right for me to play in the match."

The full-back, who has six caps, added: "The gaffer has told me to come back fit for pre-season and we will see where my career goes from there. Harry signed me from Swansea a couple of years ago. I've never had a moment's problem with him and am looking forward to trying to make the grade in the Premiership next season."

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