Collins set for dream role

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James Collins will almost certainly achieve a lifetime's ambition by captaining Wales in their final World Cup Group Four qualifier in Liechtenstein on Wednesday.

Aston Villa's new £6m defender, signed from West Ham last month, is likely to claim the armband in Vaduz with Wales' usual captain Craig Bellamy now suspended from the match due to a second yellow card in the group.

Bellamy was cautioned in Saturday's disappointing 2-1 defeat by Finland in Helsinki, and has already flown home to rejoin Manchester City's squad. Other previous national captains from boss John Toshack's originally named squad, Joe Ledley and Danny Gabbidon, have both withdrawn through injury.

Collins, the former Cardiff City defender, said recently: "It has always been my ambition to captain Wales, and I hope I can get the chance this season."

His opportunity, sadly, comes while Wales are in a terrible run of form, having lost their last three group matches and long ago failed in their bid to reach the finals next summer in South Africa.

And it follows a below-par performance by Collins himself in the Olympic stadium at the weekend, which saw him blamed for a mistimed sliding tackle that allowed Finland defender Niklas Moisander to score the winner.

Collins, 26 and now with 32 caps, is believed to have expressed his own annoyance with his display to Toshack, but will have his confidence boosted when he finally takes over the captaincy of his country for the first time.

Also stepping up for a key role in Liechtenstein will be Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, who takes over from Wayne Hennessey - the second Wales player suspended for the match after a booking in Helsinki.

Myhill, 26, has patiently awaited his chance behind Hennessey, who has claimed the number one jersey this year, restricting Myhill to just two starts in the last 13 matches.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Manchester City
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Cardiff City
Wayne Hennessey
Joe Ledley
James Collins
Aston Villa
John Toshack
Hull City
Boaz Myhill

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