WELSH preparations for tomorrow's game against Ireland in Dublin have been hampered by more withdrawals from Gary Speed's squad.
The Welsh boss was already without Premier League stars like Gareth Bale (Spurs), Boaz Myhill (West Brom) and Danny Gabbidon (West Ham) but now he's lost three more players.
Aaron Ramsey (on loan to Cardiff from Arsenal), David Edwards (Wolves) and Ched Evans (Sheffield United) have pulled out. Crystal Palace's Andy Dorman has been called up to replace Edwards.
Wales have slid to 116h in the world rankings, their lowest rating since the system began and only seven European nations are below Wales on the list, but star striker Rob Earnshaw is discounting that.
"The Fifa rankings are a bit false as far as I'm concerned, they never reflect where the actual team really is," said the 29-year old former Cardiff striker.
"We have a new manager now and a fresh start. I am sure he (Speed) will improve the national side and push this set of players forward. That is what we all want to see, this team move forward - and that starts in Dublin.
"I know the lads are looking forward to the game because it's a chance to impress the new boss at first sight."
Price is right for Brandywell
FORMER Shamrock Rovers star Aidan Price could be on his way to Derry City.
The defender ended a five-year stay with Rovers at the end of last season when he was released by Michael O'Neill and he has yet to find a new club, but Derry boss Stephen Kenny is eager to sign an experienced defender for the 2011 season due to the departure of Mark McCrystal to Tranmere Rovers and Price could fit the bill.
He didn't feature as Derry lost on penalties to Finn Harps in a pre-season friendly yesterday but boss Kenny could make a move for Price early this week.
Price's former Rovers team-mate Robert Bayly is a potential signing for Bohemians.
Bohs manager Pat Fenlon is facing a race against time to have a squad in place for the new season - Bohs play Portadown in the Setanta Sports Cup next week - and Fenlon is hoping that the club's financial obligations to former players and current staff will be cleared up today so he can start signing players.
Bayly, who won a league medal with Rovers last season, was in line for a move to Oldham Athletic following his exit from Rovers but he's now back in Dublin and could end up at Bohs.
- AIDAN FITZMAURICE