Geraint Williams has announced his Under-21 squad for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2017 Group 5 qualifiers against Denmark and Luxembourg and will be counting on a passionate North Wales support to put his side back in contention for a place in finals in Poland next summer.
The side currently sit in third place after seven games, and will be looking to home advantage to avenge a disappointing return of just one point from a possible six when they last played over the Easter period.
A 0-0 draw in Bulgaria was followed by a frustrating 2-1 reverse in Romania, and Williams will be looking for the right reaction from his side when they take to the field at Wrexham to face Denmark on Friday, 2 September (5pm) before heading to Bangor for the match against Luxembourg on Tuesday, 6 September (5pm).
Wales claimed a very credible point with a 0-0 against group leaders Denmark in Aalborg last October, a valuable point that followed on from a 3-1 win in Luxembourg the month before.
A goal from Liverpool's Harry Wilson and a brace from Wes Burns proved to be the difference that day, but with just three games remaining in the group, the side have it all to do to challenge Romania and Denmark who currently sit above them in the table.
Wales are currently just one point behind Romania with both teams having played seven games, but Denmark lead the way with a four point advantage over Wales, and the Danes have a game in hand over the chasing pack. The nine group winners automatically qualify for the finals with the four best runners-up entering the play-offs. The group winners and two play-off winners will then join host nation Poland to compete in the finals.
“I think if we win our three remaining games, and other results go our away, we have a good chance of qualifying or getting into the play-offs in second spot,” explained goalkeeper Billy O'Brien when he spoke to FAW.cymru following the defeat in Romania back in March.
“We don't concede a lot, we've kept some good clean sheets and we've created chances in every single game, but I don't know why we're struggling to put it away. I think it will come, because we've come a long way as a set of lads. I think we've got a point to prove now to ourselves against Denmark (in September) because we know we're better than that. We know we can compete with anyone. If you go back five years, teams would look at Wales at all age groups from seniors to youth and think 'yeah we'll beat these, these are a side we can beat', but now, at every age group, we can compete with anyone and beat anyone on our day.”
WALES U21 SQUAD
Billy O’BRIEN (Manchester City)
Michael CROWE (Ipswich Town)
Declan JOHN (Cardiff City)
Jordan EVANS (Wrexham)
Joseph WRIGHT (Doncaster Rovers)
Tom LOCKYER (Bristol Rovers)
Adam HENLEY (Blackburn Rovers)
Gethin JONES (Everton)
Dominic SMITH (Shrewsbury Town)
Dan JAMES (Swansea City)
Josh SHEEHAN (Swansea City, on loan with Newport County)
Lee EVANS (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Ryan HEDGES (Swansea City, on loan with Yeovil Town)
Tom O’SULLIVAN (Cardiff City)
Wes BURNS (Bristol City, on loan with Aberdeen)
Ellis HARRISON (Bristol Rovers)
Harry WILSON (Liverpool)