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Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 07:45 UK

Manager John Toshack hopes for Wales fitness boost

Wales manager John Toshack has rarely had a full squad to pick from
Wales manager John Toshack has rarely had a full squad to pick from

Manager John Toshack is hoping the injury problems that have dogged Wales will ease in time for the start of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Wales begin their Group G campaign with a trip away to face Montenegro in Podgorica on 3 September.

"I think we are the lowest seeded of the five teams in our group," he said.

"But, looking at ours, if we get a little bit more good fortune with availability of players I think we are in the mix, I really do."

England, Switzerland and Bulgaria are also in Wales' group with history suggesting they have their work cut out, as Wales have not qualified for a major championship since the 1958 World Cup finals.

Toshack's side warmed up for their trip to Podgorica next month with a 5-1 hammering of minnows Luxembourg - although the Fifa world rankings have Wales at 84th and Luxembourg 117th.

The friendly win was achieved despite Sam Vokes, Ched Evans, Simon Church, Dave Edwards, Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Darcy Blake all withdrawing injured ahead of the game in Llanelli.

Centre-back trio James Collins, Lewin Nyatanga and Danny Gabbidon were left out to give them time at their clubs to recover from injuries.

Aston Villa's Collins and Gabbidon, of West Ham, were both included in the squad to face Montenegro that Toshack announced on Thursday, while Bale, Blake, Edwards, Church and Evans were also named.

Our problem recently has been a ridiculous injury situation

Wales manager John Toshack

Toshack is resigned to being without Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who is continuing his recovery from a broken leg, and West Ham's Jack Collison, out until early next year following knee surgery, while Nyatanga also remains sidelined.

The retirement of Fulham midfielder Simon Davies in the week leading up to the Luxembourg game also limits Wales' options.

But if he can get the bulk of his squad fit - and Wales will be nervously monitoring fresh injuries suffered by players for their clubs - then Toshack is confident they can upset the odds.

"These things [injuries] seem to be following us around still," added Toshack.

"Our problem recently has been a ridiculous injury situation and it has been difficult to get any continuity going. But as frustrating as it is, we've just got to try and overcome these things.

"We realise the Montenegro game is a big, important match for us.

"I think it will be hard to forecast the one to five placings, whereas maybe in other groups it could be a little more straightforward."

One extra plus point from the Luxembourg win was the debut of striker Steve Morison, whose performance suggested Wales have found another good striking option and the Millwall man retains his place in the squad.

After the Euro 2012 opener at the Gradski Stadium, Wales welcome Bulgaria to the Cardiff City Stadium on 8 October before travelling to Switzerland four days later.

Wales' first match with their other Group G opponents, arch-rivals England, is on 26 March.

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see also
Collins & Gabbidon back for Wales
19 Aug 10 |  Welsh
Wales 5-1 Luxembourg
11 Aug 10 |  Welsh
Davies calls time on Wales career
08 Aug 10 |  Welsh
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Welsh football history
25 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Country profile: Montenegro
24 Jan 12 |  Country profiles

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