Andy King: We’ll fight for future of Wales boss Chris Coleman
ANDY King insists Wales will be doing all they can to help save Chris Coleman’s job when Macedonia visit the Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow (7.45pm).
Wales play that match before heading to Brussels to round off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Belgium on Tuesday.
It has been a hugely disappointing quest that sees Wales rooted to the bottom of Group A.
Two wins against Scotland have yielded just six points from eight games.
And that poor return has led some to question whether Coleman should remain in charge.
He was due to be offered a new two-year contract before last month’s shambolic defeat in Macedonia that involved Coleman arriving after the squad because he had lost his passport.
Serbia then cruised to a 3-0 triumph in Cardiff and Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford suggested he will wait until after Tuesday’s game before deciding on Coleman’s future.
The former Swansea City defender has since indicated he may not now sign a deal even if one is offered to him.
But King revealed the players want him to continue.
“Whenever there’s a string of poor results you know the manager expects these sorts of questions,” said the Leicester midfielder.
“As players it’s about going out there and doing our job. We need to have the manager’s back and do as well as we can.
“We like him and we’ll all be working for him on Friday and Tuesday as we have done ever since he’s been in charge.”
Coleman’s desire to finish with a flourish has not been helped by a swathe of squad withdrawals.
Nine regulars pulled out, including Gareth Bale and Joe Allen, while Jonathan Williams was not considered because of injury.
Wales’s major problems come in defence where they were believed to be contemplating fielding Hibernian midfielder Owain Tudur Jones and full-back Chris Gunter as a makeshift central pairing.
That’s because Ashley Williams, Danny Gabbidon, Ben Davies, Adam Matthews and Sam Ricketts are all missing.
But there was some hope after James Collins was duly drafted into the Wales squad yesterday.
Coleman and Collins had been in dispute after the manager accused the defender of refusing to play for his country last month, something the West Ham player denied.
Coleman made it clear face-to-face talks would be necessary to resolve the disagreement and, after discussions in Cardiff, Collins was brought back on board.
A statement on the Football Association of Wales website read: “Following face-to-face meetings between Wales manager Chris Coleman and James Collins, the experienced West Ham defender has been called up into the Wales squad to face Macedonia and Belgium.
“Collins took part in a full training session at the Vale of Glamorgan training complex this afternoon.”
Meanwhile, King is hoping whatever Wales side take the field, can help prompt a turnaround in fortunes.
“It hasn’t been this bad for four or five years. When our under-21 group started coming away things were in a similar situation. There were a lot of withdrawals and other people came through,” he said. “Fortunately we gained massively experience from that.
“The spirit in the camp is always good. We’re good friends meeting back up and the training’s sharp.
“Everyone’s looking for a good result on Friday and I’m sure we can get one.”
A poor crowd is expected in Cardiff, with interest in the national side at a sinking low.
That is set to create a subdued atmosphere as Craig Bellamy plays his last home game for Wales.
The Cardiff forward confirmed this week that he would retire from international football after Tuesday’s match in Belgium.
“He’s been massive for all the youngsters,” added King.
“When we started coming into the squad four or five years ago he helped everyone along the way.
“In terms of what he brings on and off the pitch, how he wants things done, there are going to have to be a few people that step up and make sure we carry things on.
“He wants things to be done properly, he wants things to be done right, and because he has so much passion for the country he wants positive results like we all do.”