Scotland-Wales Preview: Bale expected to be fit as visitors target a double over Scots
Gordon Strachan's first competitive match in charge sees the hosts looking to avenge a 2-1 reverse in the previous fixture back in October
By Scott Binnie
Hutton, Caldwell, Webster, Mulgrew
Burke, Naismith, Commons
Gunter, Williams, Collins, Davies
Ramsey, Vaughan, Ledley
Collison, Bellamy, Bale
Gordan Strachan’s first competitive squad has seen four withdrawals on top of absences to key midfield duo Darren Fletcher and Scott Brown but he is able to choose from a near-full strength forward line including Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes and Kris Commons.
Ross McCormack (Leeds United), Danny Fox (Southampton), James Morrison (West Brom) and James Forrest (Celtic) all dropped out of the side with injury so Barry Bannan (Aston Villa) and Stephen Whittaker (Norwich City) have been drafted in.
Gareth Bale looks set to start after recovering from an ankle knock sustained in Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Fulham at the weekend, as the explosive star missed training on Tuesday. West Ham’s Jack Collinson and James Collins are likely to feature as is David Vaughan of Sunderland, who was also absent from Tuesday’s training.
Strachan opted for a very attacking line-up in the recent friendly win against Estonia and is expected to follow suit here as the Scots look to get revenge for the 2-1 defeat in Cardiff last year.
Wales enjoyed the same scoreline in their last game over Austria, with Chris Coleman using an unusual set-up of Collison and Bale either side of Craig Bellamy in attack.
Liverpool’s Joe Allen and Leeds United’s Steve Morison have withdrawn from Coleman’s squad with Jermaine Easter of Millwall and Lewin Nyatanga of Bristol City coming in as replacements.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- When Scotland beat Wales 3-1 in the short-lived Carling Nations Cup in 2011, it was the first time they had beat their Home Nations rivals in 27 years.
- Wales’ Gareth Bale has scored 11 goals in his 11 games in all competitions. He is 5/1 to score the first goal in the game with William Hill.
- The top scorer this season from either squad is not Bale though, that honour goes to Blackburn Rovers’ Jordan Rhodes, whose haul of 26 strikes narrowly beats the Spurs star’s by just one goal.
- Wales have won two consecutive competitive games just twice in the last eight years, after following their 2-1 win over Scotland with a 2-0 defeat to Croatia.
- Kenny Miller, currently of Vancouver Whitecaps, is the sixth highest scorer in Scotland history with 17 goals. He is just two short of Ally McCoist’s 19 and 13 off the top spot, held by Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish with 30 each.
- With their last transfer topping €23 million between them, Scotland’s potential strike partnership of Steven Fletcher (pictured right) and Jordan Rhodes have amassed a stunning 99 goals in their last two seasons between them in all competitions
Top 3 Predictions
Scotland 1-2 Wales
- 26.92 %
Scotland 2-1 Wales
- 13.46 %
Scotland 1-1 Wales
- 8.97 %
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||23-Mar-2013||Scotland 1 - Wales 2|
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||13-Oct-2012||Wales 2 - Scotland 1|
|Home Nations Cup (HNC)||26-May-2011||Wales 1 - Scotland 3|
|International Friendlies (FR)||14-Nov-2009||Wales 3 - Scotland 0|
|06-Mar-2014||Poland 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|19-Nov-2013||Norway 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|16-Nov-2013||Scotland 0 - United States 0||FR|
|16-Oct-2013||Scotland 2 - Croatia 0||WCQE|
|11-Sep-2013||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 2||WCQE|
|-||Owain Fon Williams||Goalkeeper|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed