Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wales hopeful on Morgan fitness

Venue: Gradski Stadium, Podgorica Date: Friday, 3 September Kick-off: 1830 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru, live text commentary online and score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports 3

Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan hopes for his 22nd Wales cap in Montenegro

John Toshack hopes defender Craig Morgan will shrug off a foot injury to be available for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifying opener in Montenegro.

Wales are already without Darcy Blake, Danny Gabbidon and Lewin Nyatanga so Morgan is just one of three recognised centre-backs on the Podgorica trip.

Morgan was injured in training so must have a fitness test if he is to start his sixth successive international.

"He is the only doubt at the moment but I think he'll be OK," said Toshack.

"He went for an X-ray and it didn't show anything important."

"Hopefully he will be able to train today. He was able to do some running yesterday - no contact with the ball at all - but hopefully he will come through OK."

Morgan has been a regular for Wales recently but James Collins' return from injury means the Aston Villa man is likely to partner Swansea City's Ashley Williams in the centre of the Welsh defence as West Ham centre-back Gabbidon (calf), Cardiff's versatile Blake (foot) and Bristol City's Nyatanga (knee) are out.

Collins demands Wales success

Blake was taken off after 28 minutes of Cardiff's 2-0 win at Portsmouth on Saturday while 31-year-old Gabbidon, who has played just three internationals in almost three years, has withdrawn after a suffering a reoccurrence of his calf trouble.

But the boost for Toshack is Collins, who made his first Premier League start this season in Villa's 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday, is returning to full fitness after his own calf troubles.

The 27-year-old has missed three out of the last four internationals for different reasons but is now set to win his 35th Welsh cap in Montenegro.

Toshack has chosen to pick Wolverhampton Wanderers keeper Wayne Hennessey in goal for Friday's Group G showdown over West Bromwich Albion rival Boaz Myhill.

Hennessey, who will win his 27th cap in Montenegro, is only a reserve behind Marcus Hahnemann at Molineux but Toshack keeps faith with the 23-year-old Wales number one.

"Hennessey will start the game," confirmed the Wales manager.

"And maybe it will make him a little bit more determined."

Steve Morison will complete a fairytale rise from non-league football to Welsh talisman as Wales open their Euro 2012 qualifying bid in Podgorica on Friday.

The Millwall striker was playing in the Conference less than 18 months ago but now the 27-year-old is set to spearhead John Toshack's attack.

Morison starred in Wales' 5-1 friendly win over Luxembourg and is set to make his competitive Wales debut on Friday.

"I'd have no qualms about picking him again," said Wales boss Toshack.

Morison was plucked from the non-league by former Welsh international and Millwall manager Kenny Jackett and has helped fire the Lions from League One and into the Championship.

The in-form striker, who once scored against Wales playing for England's semi-professional team, has scored four times already this season and the former Stevenage Borough man impressed Toshack on his Welsh bow in their demolition of Luxembourg in Llanelli.

"I was very impressed with the debut of Steve Morison," said Toshack.

"He didn't get on the scoresheet but he certainly made his presence felt. He created space and opportunities for others, which they did indeed take.

"He has come up a hard way through non-League football but he has made the step up to the higher level and he is a good option."

Morison, who qualifies through his Welsh-born grandmother, seems to have leapt in front of Simon Church, Ched Evans and Sam Vokes, who is currently injured, in Wales' striking pecking order.

And is set to be Wales' striking targetman with in-form pace merchants Craig Bellamy and Gareth Bale joining the attack from the right and left flank respectively.

Chris Gunter backs Spurs in-form winger Gareth Bale heroics to 'light up' Wales

Toshack has suggested Wales will adopt the five-man midfield tactic in their European qualifiers to utilise the pace of Cardiff City new boy Bellamy and Tottenham Hotspur's red hot winger Bale.

"Bellamy has been playing further forward on the left-hand side recently," said the veteran Wales boss.

"So there would be a case for Bellamy and Bale both going down that left hand side.

"Or now that Simon Davies has decided to finish we may have the possibility of looking at Bale on the left hand side and Bellamy on the right hand side.

"And that is where he started off some 10 or 11 years ago."

Brian Stock's long-standing back injury has ruled the Doncaster Rovers skipper out of Friday's Group G curtain-raiser in Podgorica and he was almost certain to start in Wales' weakened midfield.

Toshack was already without Arsenal sensation Aaron Ramey and West Ham United star Jack Collison - both out with long-term serious injuries - while Simon Davies retired from international football a few weeks ago.

So Celtic's summer signing Joe Ledley and Premier League pair Dave Edwards and David Vaughan are expected to line up in the centre of Wales' midfield in Podgorica.

Ledley at just 23 will provide the know-how in Wales' relatively inexperienced central midfield area as he will win his 34th cap in their first competitive match against Montenegro.

But with only Leicester City's Andy King as Wales' only other recognised central midfielder - due to Andrew Crofts withdrawal with a groin problem - Toshack has a shortage of options in their crucial engine room in their Euro 2012 opener.


Wales lost 2-1 to Montenegro in their only other meeting against the former Yugoslav republic in a friendly international in its capital Podgorica in August 2009.

The Welsh have only lost twice in their opening European Championship qualifying fixtures since reaching the quarter-final in 1976, losing to Yugoslavia.

Montenegro, whose first match was in March 2007, are the world's newest international side but are already nine places higher than 84th placed Wales in the Fifa world rankings.

But Montenegro will be without their star striker Stevan Jovetic, who has scored six goals in 13 internationals, as the Fiorentina forward has been ruled out for six months after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in pre-season.

Wales squad: Brown (Blackburn), Hennessey (Wolves), Myhill (West Brom), Bale (Tottenham), Collins (Aston Villa), Eardley (Blackpool), Gunter (Nottm Forest), Morgan (Preston), Ricketts (Bolton), Williams (Swansea), Cotterill (Swansea), Dorman (Crystal Palace), Edwards (Wolves), King (Leicester), Ledley (Celtic), Vaughan (Blackpool), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff), Church (Reading), Earnshaw (Nottm Forest), Evans (Sheff Utd), Morison (Millwall).

Referee: Mr Anastassios Kakos (Greece)

Potenshöjande medel - köp viagra på nätet

No comments: