Captain Williams optimistic over Wales' World Cup hopes

02 September 2017 09:54

Ashley Williams feels the tide has turned Wales' way heading into the final four games of 2018 World Cup qualification.

Wales go into their clash with Austria in Cardiff on Saturday night four points behind Group D front-runners Serbia and the Republic of Ireland.

Chris Coleman's unbeaten Dragons are playing catch-up after drawing five of their six qualifiers.

But skipper Williams says Wales have been lifted by their 1-1 June draw in Serbia, a result which was achieved without suspended talisman Gareth Bale among others.

"We haven't had momentum in this campaign and that's been frustrating," Williams said.

"But I do feel it's changed after the Serbia game.

"It was still a draw, but it felt like a good draw. It felt like the start then.

"If we can win this one, then we can keep this momentum going for the last three games.

"That will be the plan, to pick up a bit of steam to finish the campaign."

Real Madrid forward Bale returns against Austria, but Joe Allen and Neil Taylor are both suspended.

Allen and Taylor are available for Tuesday's game in Moldova, and two wins would perfectly set up October's double-header against Georgia and the Republic.

But dropped points in either game could signal the end of Welsh hopes of making next summer's World Cup finals in Russia.

"Everyone's saying we must win, so we understand it's quite simple now - we must win," Everton defender Williams said.

"I'm not sure if we need to win all four, but we certainly want to get off the mark against Austria.

"They are a very talented team with some good individual players, they pass it well and their movement is very good.

"But we're not too worried about Austria because we feel if we play our game, we can win."

Wales have slipped off the pace after failing to hold on to leads in four of their six games.

Coleman's side have never actually been behind and Austria equalised twice to draw 2-2 with Wales in Vienna last October.

"It's something we've spoken about, we need to do better when we're in the lead," Williams said.

"If that does happen, which hopefully it will, we'll be able to manage the game better.

"We have to work harder than we have done to put that right."

Source: PA