Wales will have to make do without Danny Gabbidon, Darcy Blake, Andrew Crofts and Brian Stock for their trip to Montenegro on Friday, leaving John Toshack with just three recognised midfielders in the squad.
Crofts and Stock join Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and West Ham’s Jack Collison on the sidelines, leaving Wales threadbare in midfielder and calls for Toshack to attempt to lure Ryan Giggs out of retirement are growing.
Joe Ledley looks set to partner Dave Edwards in the centre of the park, leaving Andy King, the only other recognised central midfielder, on the bench.
Toshack has refuted all claims by former Welsh professionals to recall Giggs, saying, “People like Ryan can’t be used to just help out the squad. At Manchester United, Giggsy can come on for half an hour, be used in the right way and do his thing. If he’s here [Wales] again, the pressure is right on him.”
Wales face a tough qualifying group with trips to Belgium, Switzerland and Wembley to join Friday’s outing to Montenegro, but will look to get a good start if they harbour any ambitions of qualifying and are 12/5 to win in Montenegro.
Craig Bellamy will be hoping to continue his scintillating start for Cardiff in a Welsh shirt and is 40/1 to score a hat-trick on Friday.
Only a strong Welsh squad could contemplate winning this group, but they are 16/1 to do so. See the full 2012 European Championship Qualifying betting market here.