Wales hit by double injury blow

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes' most intractable problem, the lack of cover in key areas, worsened yesterday as the Wales coach suffered two more withdrawals.

The Nottingham Forest forward, Gareth Taylor, and the West Bromwich midfielder, Andy Johnson, have returned to their clubs for treatment on injuries. Hughes has already lost the Cardiff centre-half, Robert Page, with cracked ribs.

Taylor would have been, at best, fourth choice, but Johnson might have been expected to stand in for the suspended Robbie Savage. The choice for the final midfield berth - Ryan Giggs, Simon Davies and Gary Speed are certain to start - seems to lie between Mark Pembridge and Jason Koumas.

At least Koumas is playing for his club, which cannot be said for three of the four goalkeepers. Only Burnley's Danny Coyne fits the criteria of being fit and regularly playing for his club.