Bale among Wales absentees
Wales manager Chris Coleman will go into the World Cup qualifiers that may decide his future without four frontline players, despite the same quartet being named in his squad to face Macedonia and Belgium.
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Gareth Bale, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley and Andrew Crofts were all among a 23-man panel released to the media on Thursday morning in Cardiff.
Coleman immediately made it clear that Real Madrid forward Bale would play no part in either game having picked up a thigh injury.
The Wales boss also mentioned Ledley, captain Ashley Williams and striker Sam Vokes as fitness doubts.
But a Football Association of Wales spokesman later confirmed to Press Association Sport that the Celtic midfielder, Liverpool playmaker Allen and Brighton man Crofts were all injury withdrawals.
With Williams and Vokes also nursing knocks, Coleman has been left in an unenviable position with speculation mounting over his position.
The former Fulham boss had agreed a two-year contract extension prior to last month's defeats to Macedonia and Serbia, but the document remains unsigned with Wales currently bottom of Group A.
Of the decision to name Bale despite his injury, Coleman said he had done so because he was hopeful the 24-year-old could have played some part.
"He is named until we're told otherwise," said Coleman.
"But after naming the squad I was told he had a problem. It looks like he will possibly be out for two weeks.
"I found out yesterday for definite. I spoke to the doctor and he filled me in on the particulars. You always hope because sometimes you have a slight problem but we like to try and get him here to see how serious it is.
"This is more than a slight problem. He will be unavailable for at least the first week of training, so he has no chance of playing.
"I don't want to waste his time, Real Madrid's time, or our time.
"It is a massive blow, we didn't have him for the Republic of Ireland game, we only had him for half an hour against Serbia.
"A player of his talent would be a loss to anybody, especially to us, offensively he is the key that opens every door."
The decision over whether to play Swansea defender Williams is another headache for Coleman, after Swans' boss Michael Laudrup called for the player to be rested in order to recover from his ankle injury.
Coleman understands Laudrup's concerns, but will not be afraid to field his skipper if Williams feels he is ready.
'Michael Laudrup will be looking after Swansea and I fully expect that. I have to look after Wales," he said.
"If there's any chance we can have Ash we will. I'm sure he respects my priority is Wales.
"We won't take risks with players, it's not to our benefit to do that. If there is a chance we will push hard. The bottom line will be player. The player says he can or can't."
There was no place for James Collins in the squad, despite Williams' injury.
Coleman was critical of Collins after last month's defeat to Serbia, claiming he had turned down the chance to join up with the squad with Williams suspended and Sam Ricketts injured.
Collins insisted he would never turn his country down and that he had not received a message asking him to join up, but Coleman has clearly decided the player was in the wrong and has omitted him.
Coleman also suggested the delay in signing his contract is not solely down to the FAW wanting to wait and see how Wales fare in the upcoming qualification double-header and November's friendly against Finland.
"There are one or two little things that I need to discuss. We had a meeting on Monday and we touched on it," he said.
"Whatever the next results, I need to talk to some people. There are things both sides want to talk about.
"Football being football, I have learned from the last two games that perceptions change. Before the Macedonia game the contract was nearly done.
"But after two games against Macedonia and Serbia perceptions have changed. I have my own things I want to discuss."