Lennon hoping for injury-free Friday

PA Sport
Neil Lennon is hoping for the safe return of his players from the Wales versus Scotland clash
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Neil Lennon is hoping for the safe return of his players from the Wales versus Scotland clash

Neil Lennon will watch Scotland take on Wales in their crunch 2014 World Cup qualifier on Friday night with some ambivalence while at the same time keeping his fingers crossed that none of the Celtic stars involved pick up an injury.

The Parkhead club could have six players on show at the Cardiff City Stadium after midfielder Kris Commons was drafted into the Scotland squad yesterday to join up with Scott Brown, James Forrest and Charlie Mulgrew, all of whom could feature against a Welsh side which could include Adam Matthews and Joe Ledley.

Wales have lost their opening two Group A games to Belgium and Serbia with under-fire boss Chris Coleman looking for his first win since taking over from the late Gary Speed. The Scots, for their part, drew their double-header at home to Serbia and Macedonia last month which has increased pressure on both sides to get a win.

The Celtic boss has complained in the past about members of his squad picking up injuries while on international duty and does not want to lose any key players, especially with a Champions League clash against Barcelona in the Nou Camp coming up.

"I am thinking of going to the game but I don't know if that is a good idea or not," said the Northern Irishman.

"There was plenty of banter flying around but I hope there is not too much fur flying at the game. It will be tasty that's for sure. I don't know (who will win). I think at the minute Scotland are in a better place but Wales are at home and will need a result to get Chris's campaign going.

"They have some highly talented individual players and if they can put it all together they can still be a force to be reckoned with. I am just going to sit on the fence."

Meanwhile, defender Andy Webster believes it would be foolish for the Scots to concentrate too much on Gareth Bale. The Tottenham wide-man is widely believed to pose the biggest threat to the chances of Craig Levein's side garnering the three points needed to keep their qualification hopes alive.

However, Webster insists there are several in Chris Coleman's team who are worth watching. "Gareth Bale is an outstanding footballer, but Wales have quality through-out," he told the Evening Times.

"You see Bale playing for Spurs in the English Premier League and he is a tremendous talent. He is fast, a powerful runner and he is scoring goals. He also has a terrific delivery and can hit a free-kick. But Wales have other top players who will be every bit as important for us to watch out for."

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