Sunday 22 October 2017

Birth of his child puts Ledley in doubt

Joe Ledley could miss Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Ireland if his pregnant wife Ruby goes into labour before the Dublin clash. Photo: Reuters
Joe Ledley could miss Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Ireland if his pregnant wife Ruby goes into labour before the Dublin clash. Photo: Reuters

Phil Blanche

Joe Ledley could miss Wales's World Cup qualifier against Ireland if his pregnant wife Ruby goes into labour before the Dublin clash.

The prospect of midfielder Ledley missing the game has been raised by his Crystal Palace team-mate Wayne Hennessey, who was speaking to the media little more than 48 hours before the Group D clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Ruby is due to give birth to the couple's third child - they are already parents to daughters Layla and Reeva - a few days after Wales take on group leaders Ireland.

But Hennessey says that Ledley is on tenterhooks as the due date and Ireland game draws nearer, and that his best friend has even had a member of the Wales staff take his mobile phone out to the training ground this week.

"Ruby is expecting two or three days after the game, so Joe is hoping he doesn't get the call until the day after," Hennessey said.

"He's not been nervous, he's been calm. He's just keeping his phone on loud and for one of the members of staff to take his phone if he's out on the training field.

"He's used to it now... but let's hope she doesn't drop before the game. I would be lost without him!"

Hennessey will win his 67th cap in Dublin and he is expecting a sell-out 51,700 Aviva crowd to create an intense atmosphere.

Ireland are currently four points clear of third-placed Wales and two ahead of Serbia.

"It will be a hostile game in terms of the crowd," Hennessey said. "But on the field and off the field, the Euros really prepared us for games like this. The Irish have injuries but that means other people will come in to stake a claim. It's difficult opposition but we know what they're all like. We know all about their players and their style of play."

Chris Gunter, meanwhile, looks set to join Craig Bellamy on 78 caps in what will be his 58th consecutive appearance for his country.

Only Neville Southall (92) and Gary Speed (85) will then have played more for Wales and, as Gunter is still a few months short of his 28th birthday, his country's appearances record appears well within his grasp.

"Because of the summer (Wales reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016) I got quite a large number of caps in such a short space of time," Gunter said."Getting this many caps is not something you think about when you start out, going past the people I have or drawing level with Craig."

"But it is nice to be mentioned alongside some of these players. It's a really proud feeling.

"I always wanted a lot of caps but the real aim was to be successful as well, and I've been massively fortunate that I've got both in a way.

"People say about me getting to 100 caps, but there's still a long way to go and in football you never know what's around the corner."

Irish Independent

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