Euro 2016: Gareth Bale may be Wales striker against Andorra

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport in Andorra
Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale made his Wales debut against Trinidad & Tobago in May, 2006
2016 Euro qualifier: Andorra v Wales
Venue: Andorra National Stadium Date: Tuesday, 9 September, 2014 Time: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, online, mobile, and the BBC Sport app

Wales manager Chris Coleman says Gareth Bale could be centre-forward in Tuesday's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Andorra.

An injury to Sam Vokes means Wales have a paucity of attacking options, leaving Charlton's Simon Church as the only recognised striker in the squad.

That could prompt Real Madrid's Bale to switch from wing to a central striking role against the Group B minnows.

"It's no big secret that we could play him down the middle," said Coleman.

Bale has spent the vast majority of his career on the wing, having started his senior career for Southampton as a left-back.

Wales are favourites - Coleman

He was used in central midfield on occasions at Tottenham, while at Real Madrid the world's most expensive footballer has primarily featured on the right flank.

"I've seen Gareth play everywhere. He can play anywhere really," said Coleman.

"We've lost Sam Vokes and we've really only got Simon Church as an out-and-out striker, and he's not playing regularly for Charlton.

"He [Bale] will figure in this campaign in a number of positions."

Burnley's Vokes ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-0 defeat to Leicester in March while Church has yet to start for Charlton this season, scoring once in three appearances off the bench.

There have been no fresh withdrawals from the Wales squad, after James Collins, Adam Matthews, Sam Ricketts and Hal Robson-Kanu had previously pulled out with injury.

Meanwhile, midfielders Joe Ledley and Emyr Huws are back in training having missed a couple of sessions last week.

Wales will train on Andorra's controversial 3G pitch for the first time on Monday night.

The artificial surface eventually passed a Uefa inspection on 3 September after initial tests showed the ball rolled too quickly, prompting fears the game would have to be moved to an alternative venue.

"We'll have a look at it, it's the first game there," said Coleman.

Euro 2016 qualifying: Group B

"But we're not here to talk about it [the pitch]. We know what we're faced with.

"What we must not do is harp on about that. We've got to get on with it."

Wales have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, though they did reach the last eight of the European Championships in 1976 - before the tournament took on its modern format.

After their opener, Wales play two fixtures at home against Bosnia-Hercegovina and Cyprus on 10 and 13 October before facing World Cup quarter finalists Belgium away on 16 November.

The expansion of the finals in France to include 24 teams means that the top two teams from each of the nine groups will qualify automatically.

The presence of Real Madrid's Bale and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey is seen as key to Welsh chances.