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Andy Melville to captain Wales

last updated Tuesday 26th March 2002, 10:33 AM
Fulham defender Andrew Melville will have the honour of captaining Wales on his 50th appearance for his country as usual captain Gary Speed will miss Wales' friendly international against the Czech Republic in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Fulham International defender Andy Melville
Fulham International defender Andy Melville to captain Wales
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Melville, 33, made his debut against West Germany in 1990, and has been a mainstay in the Welsh defence over the last decade.

Speed is amongst a group of 11 players who have pulled out of the original 26-man squad.

Speed, who had hoped to take some part in the match, has failed to recover from a hamstring injury which has kept him out of Newcastle's last four matches. Ryan Giggs, one of the other withdrawals, is the latest of a host of Manchester United players pulled from their respective international squads by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Mark Hughes will also be without Kit Symons, ex-Fulham defender, Carl Robinson, Darren Barnard, Andy Johnson, Robert Earnshaw, Iwan Roberts, Craig Bellamy, Mark Crossley and Mark Pembridge.

With so many absentees, the match also offers an ideal opportunity for squad members to prove they are able replacements at the highest level.

But plugging the gaps could prove difficult - particularly the troublesome left-back position occupied by Speed and Barnard in recent matches.

Hughes has called up Paul Trollope, who moved from Fulham to Coventry City last week, Cardiff's Scott Young and Rhys Weston and Brentford's Paul Evans to the squad.

The Football Association of Wales announced on Monday that only 12,000 tickets have been sold for Wednesday's match.

Wales squad to play Czech Republic in Cardiff on March 27:

P Jones (Southampton), Ward (Nottm For), Coyne (Grimsby), Delaney (Villa), Jenkins (Huddersfield), Weston (Cardiff), Melville (Fulham), Page (Sheff Utd), Gabbidon (Cardiff), S Young (Cardiff), J Robinson (Charlton), Koumas (Tranmere), Davies (Spurs), Savage (Leicester), Trollope (Coventry) Blake (Wolves), Taylor (Burnley), Hartson (Celtic) Evans (Brentford).
Source BBC
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