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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Hughes leaves a void
Ian Walsh
Former Wales international

Mark Hughes' decision to take the Blackburn job is bad news for Wales, there's no doubt about that.

Mark Hughes
The FAW have to be worried about the reception Mark will get before the England and Poland games
Mark has brought a lot of dignity back to Welsh football, taking us up from around 100 in the world rankings to about 50 - that's progress in anybody's language.

The timing is atrocious. It couldn't have been worse for Wales having come off the back of two disappointing results.

We need massive performances against England and Poland, but this could cause us problems.

My worry is what the Welsh fans will feel about his departure, I have to wonder if the Football Association of Wales have got it right.

They have to be worried about the reception Mark will get before the England and Poland games.

Many will want to thank him for doing so well with Wales and say go and enjoy your career in the Premiership, but other fans will think he has deserted us for Blackburn.

Keeping Mark on for those two games will buy the FAW time and they will hope the players will put in two massive performances for him.

Sir Bobby Robson is in the Wales frame
It wouldn't surprise me if the FAW went for a foreigner
There will be pressure from both camps and both sets of fans, particularly if Blackburn's results don't go well over the next few weeks.

I don't think there's any chance of combining managing a Premiership team and an international side in the longer term.

But I'm very sad he's going because I think he still had a lot of work to do in the Wales camp.

There are plenty of good young players coming through with the right ability, and it's a shame that Mark won't be there to take them forward.

We now have to wait and see what sort of calibre of man we will get to manage Wales.

None of the candidates mentioned are head and shoulders above the others, but we have to make the right choice.

It wouldn't surprise me if the FAW went for a foreigner, and the names that immediately spring to mind are Gerard Houllier and Gordon Strachan.

Mark Hughes
I think he'll cope very well at Blackburn
If you're looking at Welshmen, perhaps the only person is John Toshack, although Brian Flynn is not far behind - Ian Rush hasn't had the experience at that level at the moment.

It will be a tough job, but the players are there to take them through.

Turning to Mark's future, you can't criticise his decision. Anyone given the opportunity to manage at the highest level in the Premiership would take that opportunity.

I think he'll cope very well at Blackburn and will enjoy the day-to-day contact with the players.

With a lot of big Premier clubs in the region the spotlight may be off him a little.

In the long run I'm sure that Mark will do particularly well at the club. He's a winner.




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