Injuries hit Toshack qualification hopes
Friday 22 August 2008
John Toshack is facing his worst Wales crisis to date, with the World Cup qualifying campaign two weeks away. The Wales manager has worked for four years to build a new squad for the South Africa 2010 campaign, but the alarming deficiencies displayed in Wednesday night's 2-1 defeat by Georgia at Swansea, plus injuries, are in danger of scuppering his plans.
The omens were not good when Wales Under-21s yesterday failed to win their Uefa championship qualifying group – going down 1-0 at home to Romania. They will probably have to win in Romania on 9 September to keep their dreams of even a play-off place alive. But Toshack will certainly want David Edwards, Gareth Bale, Chris Gunter and Wayne Hennessey back from Under-21s duty to bolster his team. Problems in defence were especially obvious against Georgia. The inexperienced Ashley Williams and Craig Morgan will almost certainly have to face Azerbaijan on 6 September, and then Russia in Moscow four days later.
Toshack has been hit by the continued absence of several key defenders and midfielder Joe Ledley. Craig Bellamy, Wales's only genuine international class striker, is unlikely to be fit for the first two World Cup games.
Toshack's hopes that defender James Collins may be available also look slim, after his seven months out with a cruciate knee injury.
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