Gareth Bale to miss Wales friendlies

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Wales will be without Gareth Bale for their March friendlies against Northern Ireland and Ukraine.

Bale has been omitted following talks between Wales and Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old has played little since Zinedine Zidane became Real coach in January because of calf problems and his wife is due to give birth to their second child next week.

"It's not just the games, it's the travelling," said Chris Coleman at his press conference to announce the squad for the games with Northern Ireland in Cardiff on March 24 and in Ukraine four days later.

"It was a joint decision with Real Madrid. It suits both parties that he doesn't play.

"We only discussed the physical element, but if his wife is due to give birth that's another issue.

"If it's possible he's always with us.

"People said we wouldn't get him as much when he went to Real Madrid two years ago, but he's played his best football for us in that time."

Wales are also without Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey (thigh), West Ham defender James Collins (hamstring) and Newcastle full-back Paul Dummett (hamstring).

David Edwards is also recovering from a fractured metatarsal but the Wolves midfielder faces a race to be fit for the finals in France.

Defender Ben Davies has been named despite suffering a head injury in Tottenham's Europa League loss to Borussia Dortmund.

Davies collided with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and his Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said the 22-year-old left-back would be assessed in the next few days.

Andy King is also available after illness forced him out of the Leicester squad on Monday night when the Barclays Premier League leaders beat Newcastle.

Andrew Crofts returns to the squad having not played for Wales since September 2013 following two cruciate knee injuries.

Wales squad: Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Fon Williams (Inverness), Ward (Liverpool); A Williams (Swansea, capt), Chester (West Brom), Gunter (Reading), Matthews (Sunderland), Taylor (Swansea), Henley (Blackburn), Richards (Fulham), Davies (Tottenham), Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Huws (Wigan), Allen (Liverpool), Ledley (Crystal Palace), MacDonald (Bournemouth), G Williams (Fulham), Isgrove (Southampton), Crofts (Brighton), J Williams (Crystal Palace), Cotterill (Birmingham), Robson-Kanu (Reading), Lawrence (Leicester), Church (MK Dons), Vokes (Burnley), Bradshaw (Walsall).

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