Speed’s dad pleads for Welsh patience
WALES v SCOTLAND Group A – Friday, 7.45pm
GARY SPEED’S dad has pleaded with Wales fans to get behind under-fire Chris Coleman – in the name of his tragic son.
Coleman’s job as national boss is in danger after a string of dodgy results, and it could be the end of the line if the Dragons are downed by Scotland in their crucial World Cup head-to-head.
A third straight qualifying defeat will all but see off Wales’ hopes of making it to the 2014 finals in Brazil – just a month into the new international campaign.
But Roger Speed, dad of much-missed ex-Wales boss Gary, wants Coleman to be given time to turn things around in memory of the former Leeds and Newcastle star who took his own life last year. He said: “Get behind Chris Coleman. For me and Gary, please get behind him.
“Some Welsh supporters can be a little fickle because things aren’t going well. But it’s no good sacking him or getting rid of him. Get behind him instead.”
Coleman – a close friend and former team-mate of Speed, who was found hanged at his home 11 months ago aged 42 – inherited a Wales side that had won four out of five games under their late boss in 2011.
But the new man has had a nightmare start, losing all four games he’s taken charge of – including a six-goal hammering by Serbia – to put his job on the line amid rumours of dressing room unrest.
Speed Snr, though, insists it’s time to stick with the former Fulham and Coventry boss.
He added: “I wouldn’t like the job he’s got to do to take over after Gary because Gary was doing an absolute tremendous job. I really, really feel for Chris.”
Scotland’s start to the campaign isn’t much better than winless Wales, with Craig Levein’s troops already a target for the boo-boys after claiming just two points from two home games.
But the Scots camp insists it isn’t win or bust at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Scotland face a tough trip to Belgium four days after their date in Cardiff, and Levein’s No.2 Peter Houston said: “There are three points up for grabs and we’ll try to get them.
“I wouldn’t put any targets on how many points we’re going to get out of these next two games.”
Celtic skipper Scott Brown insists he will be fit despite the no-nonsense midfielder suffering from a hip problem.
GIVE HIM A CHANCE: Roger Speed has backed Coleman, who succeeded his late son Gary NO TARGETS: Peter Houston HARDLINE: Trapattoni