Ledley to face Russia in bandage

07 September 2009 10:07
Joe Ledley is set to wear a light cast to protect a broken bone in his hand for Wales' 2010 World Cup qualifier against Russia in Cardiff on Wednesday.The Cardiff City midfielder suffered the injury in his hand after slipping on steps while on holiday in Paris. Ledley has trained with his Wales team-mates but will go to hospital to be be fitted with a protective strapping. But referee Jorge Sousa will then check the cast to ensure it is acceptable for the 22-year-old to play Russia. A Welsh FA spokesman said: ''He's having it strapped at a local hospital. "The feeling is it should not cause an issue with him playing in the game, as long as the referee is happy. ''We will ensure the match referee sees it in good time, so he can have the okay to play in the game.'' Ledley wore a cast in Cardiff's South Wales derby draw with Swansea City last season to protect a dislocated finger. He required surgery and needed a pin to heal the injury, which was sustained in the Bluebirds' win over Crystal Palace on 15 November. Ledley is expected to form a partnership with teenager Aaron Ramsey and Wolves midfielder David Edwards in a three-man Welsh central midfield at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Wales are desperately short of midfielders after Jason Koumas announced his retirement from international football on Sunday, while the highly rated Jack Collison is expected to miss out on compassionate grounds. Experienced Fulham midfielder Simon Davies is still sidelined because he is recovering from foot surgery while Leicester City midfielder Andy King has also been ruled out. And the recent international retirements of ball-winners Carl Fletcher and Carl Robinson mean Wales' engine room is struggling with strength in depth for the visit of Russia. Swansea City rookie Shaun MacDonald and Doncaster Rovers' Brian Stock are in manager John Toshack's squad but are unlikely to make their debuts against the strong Russians. MacDonald captained Wales' Under-21s in their impressive 2-1 over Italy on Friday - winning his 20th Under-21 cap - and the 21-year-old wins a Wales call after making just 18 starts as a professional. Uncapped Stock, who withdrew from his two previous Wales calls, wins a spot in the squad, while captain Craig Bellamy and goalkeeper Boaz Myhill return after missing Wales' 2-1 friendly defeat in Montenegro last month. Bristol City centre-back Lewin Nyatanga, who has mumps, has withdrawn from the squad, but full-back Chris Gunter is expected to recover from a hamstring strain. Midfielder Collison and striker Simon Church are expected to pull out. Collison is still in the squad, although Wales do not expect the 20-year-old to feature because the West Ham United star is to attend his father Ian's funeral on Monday after he died in a motorcycle accident. Church played in Wales Under-21's Uefa qualifying 2-1 win over Italy at the Liberty Stadium on Friday but is also unlikely to face the Russians in Cardiff on Wednesday. The Reading forward is to attend his father's funeral on Wednesday morning after he lost his battle with a long illness. So, due to the doubts in Toshack's squad, the Wales boss has given youngster MacDonald and Bristol City centre-back Christian Ribeiro their first Wales senior call. Ribeiro helped inspire Wales' Under-21s to their famous win over the Italians in Swansea with the opening goal and a solid and accomplished defensive display. The highly rated 19-year-old, once a target for Premier League side Everton, has recently returning to full fitness following a year out after suffering from a cruciate knee ligament injury season. But Tottenham Hotspur left-back Gareth Bale, who has a knee injury, is still sidelined. Second-placed Russia are only one point behind Group Four leaders Germany as they bid for qualification for the World Cup in South Africa. Bellamy is expected to regain the Wales captaincy from stand-in skipper Ledley as the Manchester City striker has missed Wales' past four internationals. Central defensive duo Danny Gabbidon and James Collins are set to play their first competitive Wales game together for almost two years. Toshack hailed the pair as Wales' "nerve centre" but they have not played alongside each other for their country since Wales' goalless draw in Germany in November 2007. West Ham defender Gabbidon and Aston Villa's new signing Collins were partners again in Wales' recent friendly defeat in Montenegro, and Gabbidon's return from 18 months out with complex abdominal problems is a boost for Toshack. Wales squad: Hennessey (Wolves), Myhill (Hull), Price (Brentford), Collins (Aston Villa), Eardley (Blackpool), Gabbidon (West Ham United), Gunter (Nottingham Forest), Morgan (Peterborough United), Ricketts (Bolton Wanderers), Williams (Swansea City), Ribeiro (Bristol City), Collison (West Ham), Cotterill (Sheff Utd), Edwards (Wolves), Ledley (Cardiff), Ramsey (Arsenal), Stock (Doncaster), MacDonald (Swansea City), Bellamy (Man City), Church (Reading), Evans (Sheff Utd), Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest), Vokes (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Source: BBC_Sport