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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 15:45 UK

Bellamy poised to miss qualifiers

Craig Bellamy limps off injured on Monday night
Bellamy joined West Ham last summer for 7.5m from Liverpool

Wales coach John Toshack says Craig Bellamy has only an "outside chance" of playing in his side's opening 2010 World Cup qualifiers next month.

The West Ham striker could be out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury picked up in a pre-season friendly.

Wales play Azerbaijan and Russia on 6 and 10 September respectively and Toshack admits Bellamy is struggling.

"Craig is very doubtful for that double header, he has an outside chance at best," said Toshack.

Bellamy has not played a full 90 minute of competitive football since scoring in West Ham United's 3-1 victory against Sunderland at Upton Park on 21 October last year.

The injury-prone 29-year-old has struggled with abdominal problems and last played for The Hammers in a competitive game on 2 February at Wigan when he made a 22-minute cameo appearance.

Bellamy recovered to make fleeting substitute appearances for Wales in their friendly double-header against Iceland and The Netherlands at the end of last season.

But this new injury for Bellamy, who will definitely miss Wales' friendly with Georgia on 20 August, is a huge blow to club and country at the start of a new season.

"Craig really needs to play competitive games," said Toshack.

"He has gone almost a year without any competitive football which is very disappointing for us.

"Hamstring injuries normally need about four to six weeks to recover so whether he plays for us in our World Cup qualifiers is in the hands of West Ham."

Bellamy has vowed to bounce back from his injury that has robbed him from starting the new Premier League season.

"It's gutting for me not to be able to start the season, especially as I have had a great pre-season," said Bellamy.

"I wanted to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact."

Bellamy scored five pre-season goals and was relishing the start of the new campaign.

He picked up the injury soon after scoring in West Ham's 5-3 friendly win over Ipswich at Portman Road on Monday.

It means he will miss the games against Wigan, Manchester City and Blackburn but could be back for Alan Curbishley's side for the trip to West Brom on 13 September.

That also means a race against time for Wales' qualifiers.

Bellamy played only nine games for the Hammers last term in an injury-ravaged first season at Upton Park that was blighted by abdominal and groin problems.

But he said: "I have probably had the best pre-season ever and I think I have shown that I proved my point in that I totally recovered from my injury last year and have returned fitter and stronger like I said I would.

"But it won't affect me too much in terms of working through the rehabilitation for this injury and to get back better than before again."

Only last week, manager Curbishley praised the Welshman, who has been capped 51 times for his country, after scoring a brace in a 2-0 win over Peterborough.

"He has worked extremely hard to return to full fitness and is a great asset," stated Curbishley.

see also
Earnshaw urged for Wales revival
08 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Curbishley praises Bellamy graft
30 Jul 08 |  West Ham
Bellamy buzzing after milestone
29 May 08 |  Internationals
Injured Bellamy out for six weeks
21 Feb 08 |  West Ham
Bellamy avoids second operation
20 Dec 07 |  West Ham
West Ham seal 7.5m Bellamy deal
10 Jul 07 |  West Ham

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