Wales v Lithuania Under-21s: Big chance for young stars
WALES Under-21s manager Geraint Williams reckons Chris Coleman's injury crisis at senior level has created chances for younger players to make the step up.
But he warned his players that they should "be able to swim" before they are thrown in at the deep end.
Seven players will be missing from the UEFA qualifier with Lithuania at the BookPeople Stadium today (2pm) with Williams admitting it's a tough situation for Coleman.
"It is a hard time for Chris, and because of that, there are some seven players who could be with the under-21s who are now in the senior squad. But it then creates chances for others with our squad."
He added: "It is important they go up when they merit it as you have to be able to swim before you are thrown in.
"Although you want the players to be able to adapt to the different age levels, it is important to me for the under-17s to have had a qualifying group together and see that they could win as a group of players."
After the first few matches in the group not going Wales's way, the Lithuania game takes on an extra importance as there are still plenty of points to play for in a highly competitive group.
"We must be positive, but we need a performance and turn that into a result. I know I sound like a stuck record, but in most games we are getting at least 60 per cent of the possession," said Williams.
"Even against Finland that was the case, we had more shots than them but they had five shots on target and scored from all of them. Many teams play on the counter-attack, we are not getting penned-in, but we have to make sure that we don't keep getting caught."
Swansea City starlet Lee Lucas agreed Lithuania will be hard to break down, but stressed the importance of winning home games as the squad looks ahead to San Marino on Tuesday.
"We now have two home games on the bounce and maximum points are essential as there are still more tough games to come."
Last month's return of one point from the two away games in San Marino and Moldova was disappointing, but Lucas reckons the lads will pick themselves up and move on from it.
"We have watched the videos and things improved in Moldova and so we have some confidence back and take that on into these games."