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banner Friday, 16 March, 2001, 12:53 GMT
Hughes targetting Armenia
Legg has been vital to Cardiff's promotion push
Andy Legg has answered Wales' call
Wales manager Mark Hughes has pinpointed the game with Armenia on 24 March as vital for his side's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Hughes' Welsh side face a tricky double-header with Ukraine at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff four days later.

"People always give us targets, but we have to accept that - this is an important period for us and we are aware of that.

"The importance of the Armenia game should not be under estimated because if we get any kind of positive result it sets us up for the Ukraine game where anything could happen in front of a big crowd," Hughes said.

The Wales boss has named five injured players in the squad of 26 - Ryan Giggs, Mark Pembridge, John Robinson, Mark Delaney and Nathan Blake - and is waiting to see if they win their fitness battles.

Robbie Savage must also undergo a scan on an injured knee, but is suspended for the game against Armenia.

Tranmere's Jason Koumas
Jason Koumas: Wales training invite

The biggest concern is Wales' star player Giggs, who limped off in Manchester United's 1-1 Champions League draw with Valancia at the end of last month.

"It is a difficult injury because it is not really muscle damage, but is more of a nerve thing.

"Until I have spoken to Ryan and the medical people it is difficult to say if he will be fit," Hughes said.

The large squad of 26 reflects the injury problems and the Wales manager expects only 18 to 20 of those to fly to Yerevan.

Hughes also confirmed his interest in Tranmere's Wrexham-born winger Jason Koumas.

Koumas starred in his side's thrilling FA Cup run which ended against Liverpool in the quarter-finals on Sunday, but must decide if he wants to play for Wales or England or Cyprus, for whom he also qualifies.

Solitary cap

Hughes has invited him to Wales' training sessions and if he decides his future lies with Wales the Tranmere player could find himself in the squad for the match with Ukraine.

Cardiff City skipper Andy Legg is the surprise inclusion in Wales' squad for the forthcoming matches.

Legg has five Welsh caps, the last of which was won against Denmark in 1999 and has been influential in Cardiff's drive for promotion from division three.

Nottingham Forest defender Christian Edwards wins his first call up since his solitary cap against Switzerland in April 1996.

The former Swansea player impressed Mark Hughes when he scored the winning goal in Forest's 2-1 win over Hughes' club side Blackburn last month.

Coventry's Craig Bellamy returns to the squad after serving his two-match international ban.

Cardiff City provide five players for the Wales under-21 side and Wrexham and Swansea two each.

The Welsh derby between Swansea and Wrexham on 24 March and Cardiff's trip to Mansfield on 23 March are now likely to be postponed.

Wales squad to play Armenia in Yerevan on 24 March and Ukraine in Cardiff on 28 March:
P Jones (Southampton), Freestone (Swansea), Crossley (Nottm Forest), Ward (Notts County), Delaney (Aston Villa), S Jenkins (Huddersfield), Barnard (Barnsley), G Roberts (Tranmere), C Edwards (Nottm Forest), Legg (Cardiff), Melville, Symons (both Fulham), Page (Watford), J Robinson (Charlton), A Johnson (Nottm Forest), M Jones, Savage (both Leicester), Pembridge (Everton), C Robinson (Wolves), Speed (Newcastle), Saunders (Bradford), I Roberts (Norwich), Bellamy, Hartson (both Coventry), Blake (Blackburn), Giggs (Man Utd).

Wales under-21 squad to play Armenia in Abovyan on 23 March and Ukraine in Swansea on 27 March:
Walsh (Wrexham), Kendall, Weston, Gabbidon, K Evans, (all Cardiff), Green (Wolves), S Evans (Crystal Palace), D Williams (Wrexham), Slatter (Chelsea), Day (Man City), L Jenkins, S Roberts (both Swansea), Llewellyn (Norwich), S Davies (Tottenham), Maxwell (Liverpool), J Thomas (Sheff Utd), Hillier (Tottenham), Matthew Tipton (Oldham).

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