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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Bowen back with Wales
Mark Bowen returns to help coach the Wales team
Mark Bowen has returned to the Wales coaching staff after being axed as first-team coach by Birmingham.

Last year the Blues forced Bowen to quit as assistant to Wales boss Mark Hughes to concentrate on club duties.

But the 40-year-old left Birmingham in June after being jettisoned by Blues manager Steve Bruce.

Bowen has now been restored as Hughes' assistant, as Wales prepare for their World Cup qualifying campaign with a friendly in Latvia on 18 August.

Although he admits the manner of his departure from St Andrews was hard to take, Bowen - now with an Uefa professional coaching licence under his belt - wants another job at a Premiership club.

He is delighted to have his Wales position back, however, and believes Hughes has a much stronger squad to chose from than in recent years.

"There was a time when the side virtually picked itself regardless of how well people were playing, because the strength in depth was not there," Bowen said.

"That is not the case now; we have the likes of Paul Parry, Carl Fletcher and James Collins having forced their way into the squad to challenge the old-stagers.

Now I am back involved and I cannot wait to get going again
Wales assistant coach Mark Bowen

"I have sat and watched from the fringes these past couple of years and seen a lot of good young talent progressing into the squad.

"It was very frustrating for me when Birmingham stopped me coaching Wales.

"I came down to matches, I was also around the hotel a lot, but I was not allowed to do any work with the players and that left me sitting and watching.

"But now I am back involved and I cannot wait to get going again. I am just grateful to Mark for bringing me back into his coaching team."

With Hughes away on holiday, it was Bowen who formally announced the Wales squad at a Cardiff hotel on Tuesday.

Wales will prepare for their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to play Latvia in Riga on 18 August.

They will be without key midfielder Simon Davies, as the Tottenham player is recovering from a shin operation.

Also missing is Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, who is suspended for the first two games of the World Cup qualifiers and is therefore not needed for the friendly against the surprise Euro 2004 qualifiers.

The action begins for real with matches against Azerbaijan on 4 September in Baku, then the home qualifier with Northern Ireland on 8 September.

Wales squad to play Latvia in Riga, 18 August:
Coyne (Burnley), Crossley (Fulham), Jones (Wolves), Ward (Forest), Collins (Cardiff), Delaney (Villa), R Edwards (Wolves), Gabbidon (Cardiff), Melville (West Ham), Page (Cardiff), G Roberts (Tranmere), Thatcher (Man City), Fletcher (Bournemouth), Johnson, Koumas (both WBA), Oster (Sunderland), Parry (Cardiff), Pembridge (Fulham), C Robinson (Sunderland), Savage (Birmingham), Speed (Bolton), Bellamy (Newcastle), Blake (Leicester), Earnshaw (Cardiff), Hartson (Celtic), Taylor (Forest).

Wales U21 squad to play Latvia in Riga, 18 August:
Coates (TNS), Price (Ipswich), Worgan (Rushden & Diamonds), Duffy (Portsmouth), Gilbert (Plymouth), S. Jones (Swansea), Morgan (Wrexham), Parslow (Cardiff), Spender (Wrexham), Crowel (Wrexham), Davies (Bangor), Fish (Cardiff), Fowler (Huddersfield), Pipe (Notts Co), Tolley (Shrewsbury), Vaughan (Crewe), Birchell (Arsenal), Caliste (Man Utd), Fleetwood (Cardiff), Hughes (Kaiserslautern).

Coach Bowen quits Blues
23 Jun 04  |  Birmingham City

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