Robert Earnshaw’s thigh injury rules him out of Wales qualifiers

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Robert Earnshaw has left Brian Flynn with a major selection headache as he looks to get off to a strong start as Wales manager.

Earnshaw has missed Nottingham Forest’s last three games after picking up a thigh strain in Forest’s tie with Hull back in September and joins Craig Bellamy on the sidelines despite the Cardiff City forward playing 94 minutes in his sides clash with Barnsley on Saturday.

19-year-old Southampton forward Ryan Doble and 21-year-old Cardiff defender Darcy Blake have been called up to the squad ahead of the game with Bulgaria on Friday which Wales are 13/8 to win.

Bellamy and Earnshaw have played 109 games between them scoring 32 goals and the rest of the Wales squad falls distinctly short in terms of goals scored.

Simon Church, Ched Evans and Sam Vokes are now the most senior strikers in the Wales set-up despite Church and Evans being just 21-years-old, and Vokes is still only 20.

The three of them have scored just five goals in 36 caps and with Joe Ledley and David Edwards top scoring in the midfield with just three goals each, Flynn must find a way to get his players to hit the back of the net.

Bulgaria are also 13/8 to beat Wales in Cardiff and they have lost both opening qualification matches, including a home defeat to Montenegro.

With Wales struggling for goals and Bulgaria looking to get their qualification campaign back on track, a 0-0 scoreline is a distinct possibility and it’s backable at 13/2.

It remains to be seen how daring Flynn will be in his first game as Wales manager, but his experience with the Wales under-21 set-up could mean starts for some of the players he had previously been managing.

Bulgaria are 23/10 to come away with a draw in Wales. See the full Wales vs Bulgaria betting odds market here.

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