Goals to remain a premium for much-changed Wales in Ukraine

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Chris Coleman’s voyage of discovery with his Wales squad will continue when his side travel to face Ukraine for a friendly on Monday.

The absence of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Hal Robson-Kanu has allowed the Dragons boss to trial some of the fringe members of his squad in the run up to Euro 2016.

Against Northern Ireland on Thursday, a number of the starting XI were at the outset of their international careers and that theme is set to continue in Ukraine.

Unused substitutes against Michael O’Neill’s side, Adam Henley, Emyr Hughes and Shaun MacDonald can expect to see some game time in Kiev, as Wales look to prepare for their Group B clash with Russia in France this summer.

The return to fitness of Tottenham’s Ben Davies should allow Coleman to field a 3-5-2 formation – which was preferred during qualifying – having played 4-4-2 in Cardiff.

Whatever the system, goals aren’t to be expected. Only three of Wales’ last 10 internationals have seen over 2.5 goals scored and without the attacking trio of Bale, Ramsey and Robson-Kanu, that trend isn’t likely to be altered.

The strength of Wales’ stature surge has been at the back and with Ukraine not a feared attacking threat – they’ve scored more than one goal in a game five times in the last 12 – 8/15 about under 2.5 goals in the game looks a strong investment.

Ladbrokes’ match odds make Ukraine the favourites for victory, at 3/5, while the Welsh can be backed at 11/2. The draw is available at a price of 13/5.

Wales’ away record isn’t all that strong – they’ve won five of their last 17 on the road – so taking that price on the win would be risky.

Ukraine, meanwhile, have only lost twice as hosts in two years, winning 13 of their 19 matches in that time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.