| 5°C Dublin

Wales not risking Bellamy and Bale for nations opener

NEITHER Craig Bellamy nor Gareth Bale will be featuring for Wales when they line out at the Aviva Stadium for the opening Carling Nations Cup against Ireland this day week.

Bellamy, on loan at Cardiff from Manchester City, has an ongoing knee problem which restricts the number of games he can play in, and he is set to feature in a crucial game for the Bluebirds against fellow Championship promotion contenders Swansea on Sunday, two days before Wales' game against Ireland on February 8.

"I am sure everyone is aware of Craig's situation and it would be wrong of me to ask him to play on Tuesday after playing on Sunday," Wales manager Gary Speed said. "The last thing we want is players going back to their clubs injured."

Tottenham star Bale was not considered because of a back problem, but West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon is back in the squad after reversing his decision to retire from international football.

Another Cardiff loanee, Aaron Ramsey, has also returned to the squad for the first time since suffering a broken leg last season, while Freddy Eastwood has also been drafted back in.

Irish Independent