Price plays down chances

LEWIS Price last night played down his chances of making his full Wales debut next month for fear of jinxing it.A cruciate knee ligament injury to Burnley's Danny Coyne has boosted the possibility of Price wearing the No.

By Derek Davis

LEWIS Price last night played down his chances of making his full Wales debut next month for fear of jinxing it.

A cruciate knee ligament injury to Burnley's Danny Coyne has boosted the possibility of Price wearing the No.1 jersey against Northern Ireland next week in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The squad for the Windsor Park trip will be announced on Thursday but, the last time Price was being lined up to make his Wales bow, a knee injury picked up at Leicester City four days before wrecked the opportunity.

Coyne retained his place and a good display against England earned him another cap a few days later in Poland.

But Coyne picked up a serious knee injury during Burnley's home draw with Brighton on Saturday and could be out for the rest of the season. Coyne's place against Ipswich tonight will be taken by Brian Jensen, while Price will battle it out with Paul Jones for the Welsh job.

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Price said: “I'm totally gutted for Danny but, obviously, it opens up a place for me with Wales.

“It is almost bad luck to talk about it after what happened last time and, until the Wales squad actually meet next week, I will not be thinking about it.

“I have two very important games for Ipswich coming up before then and I will be focusing on those.”

Wales boss John Toshack has made it clear that he wants to see Price in competitive action for Wales and recent scouting reports will have enhanced the young keeper's chances.

Toshack would have played Price against England if he had played against Slovenia but then pencilled him in to play against Azerbaijan at the Millennium Stadium in November.

Toshack could turn to 39-year-old Wolves player Jones, who has been coaching the Wales keepers, but he has played just one game this season, a League Cup tie for his loan club Millwall, while Gillingham's Jason Brown is likely to be named as the third keeper.

Price said: “I would obviously love to play for Wales in the World Cup games but I'm not taking anything for granted.

“The game I was going to make my debut in was a friendly against Slovenia and, at international level, they are for experimenting. Whether the manager would start me in a World Cup qualifier is something else. Although we can't actually get to the World Cup, these games are still important for us because the higher we finish the better our seedings will be in the European Championship qualifiers next year.

“Even though Paul has been coaching us keepers, I know he still wants to play and he has a wise old head. Just because he has not been playing games, doesn't mean he won't be ready for Wales because his experience and training will mean he would be able to fit straight in.”

The 21-year-old Bournemouth-born keeper, who qualifies through his Welsh dad, kept his second clean sheet of the season on Saturday at Leeds, three if you count the Leicester game when he was taken off injured.

But Price knows they will not be able to rely on Burnley being as wasteful tonight if they are to claim another three points.

He said: “Burnley will be a dangerous side. They have not been doing too well but they are at home and desperate to improve.

“We know it is going to be a battle and it will be tight. The lads have been defending brilliantly all season, and did so again at Leeds, but there is only so much of an onslaught you can deal with and we need to try and keep the ball more and take the pressure of ourselves.”

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