Wales v Scotland – Match preview and team news

The Cardiff City Stadium plays host to a Battle of Britain with both sides looking for their first win in their somewhat struggling attempts to qualify for Brazil 2014.

The home side are without a win since Chris Coleman took charge following the death of Gary Speed and are currently bottom of Group A with two losses from their opening matches, the last of which a 6-1 battering in Serbia.

Coleman’s reaction to that defeat was to strip Aaron Ramsey of the captaincy, citing the pressure of the role was beginning to impact on the young Arsenal midfielder’s performances. Ramsey is set to start for Wales tonight alongside Liverpool’s Joe Allen in the centre of the park.

Gareth Bale has been passed fit to play and much hope will rest on the Tottenham winger’s shoulders if Wales are to get the win they need to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive. Bale’s presence is crucial for Coleman, who has had to deal with a raft of injury problems that sees first-team regulars Wayne Hennessey, Adam Matthews, Jack Collison, Neil Taylor and Craig Bellamy all missing, while centre-back James Collins is suspended.

Scotland manager Craig Levein has been boosted by the return of both Steven and Darren Fletcher to the squad. The former returns after solving the differences between him and the manager and is currently in red-hot form having scored five goals in his first five appearances for Sunderland, while skipper Darren Fletcher has provided a major fillip by declaring himself fit after recently making his Manchester United return following 11 months on the sidelines with a chronic bowel condition.

The two Fletchers’ returns have covered for the injuries sustained by Robert Snodgrass and Jordan Rhodes as the Tartan Army search for their first win of Group A after beginning their campaign with two home draws against Serbia and Macedonia.

Levein also has injury concerns over Scott Brown, James Forrest and Andy Webster although all are expected to be fit in time for kick-off.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Wales v Scotland

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