Price withdraws from Welsh squad

IPSWICH Town goalkeeper Lewis Price last night withdrew from the Wales squad to face Northern Ireland in Belfast tomorrow.The 22-year-old played in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and Wales were assured he was fit to drive to Cardiff to link up with the rest of John Toshack's squad.

IPSWICH Town goalkeeper Lewis Price last night withdrew from the Wales squad to face Northern Ireland in Belfast tomorrow.

The 22-year-old played in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and Wales were assured he was fit to drive to Cardiff to link up with the rest of John Toshack's squad.

But on arrival at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, it was soon clear after a medical examination that Price had a thigh strain - which meant he was immediately sent back to Ipswich.

An FA of Wales spokesman said: “Our medical people examined Lewis when he got to us and decided his thigh strain would stop him playing on Tuesday.”


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The EADT revealed on Saturday that mystery surrounded Price's fitness after Wales called up Danny Coyne, with sources in the principality claiming he was cover because Price had an injury problem. But Ipswich claimed he was fully fit and had travelled to London and was available to play against Palace.

The loss of Price has plunged the Welsh into a goalkeeping crisis after losing both their first choice keepers inside 24 hours.

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On Saturday night Sunderland's Darren Ward pulled out of tomorrow's friendly with a hamstring injury, sustained in the 2-0 Coca-Cola Championship victory over Coventry.

The loss of Price and Ward gives Welsh manager John Toshack severe problems as Burnley goalkeeper Coyne has not played a senior match for more than 18 months at Turf Moor, due to a serious knee problem.

Toshack's other goalkeeping choice is 39-year-old Paul Jones, who is currently out of the QPR side and has been told his contract will not be renewed in the summer. The loss of two senior keepers unfortunately spotlights Toshack's decision not to include Blackburn's Jason Brown in this squad because he has not been playing first-team football with the Barclays Premiership side.

Brown made his debut in the last Wales match, a 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein at Wrexham in November, when the position at Blackburn was exactly the same with him being permanent cover for Brad Friedel.

It is believed Brown was bitterly disappointed when informed of Toshack's decision, but it seems highly unlikely that the Wales boss will change his mind and add Brown to his squad at this late stage.

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