Price set to win second Welsh cap
LEWIS Price is set to win his second cap for Wales on Wednesday after the Principality were hammered 5-1 by Slovakia.The Blues keeper, who has been keeping Shane Supple on the bench, is likely to be handed the starting role by John Toshack after Paul Jones had a nightmare 50th game for his country.
By Derek Davis
LEWIS Price is set to win his second cap for Wales on Wednesday after the Principality were hammered 5-1 by Slovakia.
The Blues keeper, who has been keeping Shane Supple on the bench, is likely to be handed the starting role by John Toshack after Paul Jones had a nightmare 50th game for his country.
The Wolves keeper had the number 50 and a Welsh dragon cut into his hair to mark the occasion but it could possibly mark the end of his international career as Toshack looks to the future.
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Price made his full Wales debut against Cyprus in a friendly last November, when he put in a man-of- the-match performance, although his side lost 1-0, and this would be his competitive debut and the first time he has played at the Millennium Stadium.
Bournemouth-born Price said: “I imagine this game will be a lot different. I did well that night but we lost, which was disappointing. It would be great if I were to play against them again in the European Championships but you never know. Paul Jones is still the man with the shirt for the moment and generally he has been doing well.
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“I would love to play against Cyprus again and at the Millennium Stadium, that would be awesome, though I hope I'm not man- of-the-match or anything like that because it means I will have been busy. I would settle for us winning 1-0 with me not having much to do - if I play.”
With the 2008 European Championships already looking beyond them, Toshack made it clear that he is planning for World Cup 2010 and, in the two years in charge so far, has capped 16 new players, including Price.
Toshack said: “We cannot go backwards, there is no point now in looking back to people and then in 12 months' time having to change them and start again.
“No, we have to push on with our thinking now, I'm afraid.”
Another international manager who may turn to a Town player is Steve Staunton, after being forced to watch the Republic of Ireland humbled by Cyprus 5-2 on the holiday island.
Striker Alan Lee went on for the final 20 minutes with the Irish chasing the game and will hope to have a more prominent role at Lansdowne Road on Wednesday when the Czech Republic are the visitors. Staunton has been without the experienced hand of former Ipswich and England boss Sir Bobby Robson to guide him in his first managerial role but is determined not to crumble under the pressure of four successive defeats.
Staunton said: “I'm not walking away. This job is certainly not beyond me. You have to look and see we are in a transitional period, as this has shown. So it's nothing to do with it being beyond me.
“That was an experienced side out there, when you look at the caps the players have, but sometimes there's nothing you can do.”
The Czech Republic, top of Group D with nine points from three games, and in a rampant mood after their 7-0 mauling of San Marino, could be the end of Staunton unless Lee and his team- mates can pull off a surprise.
Lee said: “I have belief in myself, and I have full faith in the younger players as well. We'll do everything in our power to try to put things right, and build the players up from today on. They're gutted, so now we have to get their confidence up again, and that's all you can do.
“Obviously, the lads are as down as we are. They'll have to pick themselves up, and we'll have to pick them up as well, and get it right on Wednesday.'
North of the Irish border, and Lawrie Sanchez has warned that Northern Ireland's home game with Latvia on Wednesday is more important than the game in Denmark where they picked up a precious point in a 0-0 draw. Northern Ireland have moved to third in their group, ahead of Spain who suffered their second defeat in a row when they went down 2-0 to Sweden.
Meanwhile, Jaime Peters scored the winner for Canada Under 20s in their 2-1 over their Czech Republic counterparts in Prague and Chris Casement figured for Northern Ireland Under- 19 in their 4-2 loss in Belgium.
Ipswich Town Under-18s went down 3-2 at West Ham on Saturday.
Ipswich Town reserves entertain Southend tonight, 7pm, Portman Road.