Eagles goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has revealed that Joe Ledley might have to miss Wales’ crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland on Friday night due to the imminent birth of his new baby.
The pair are currently with the rest of Chris Coleman’s squad preparing for their showdown in Dublin, but Ledley's wife Ruby is due to give birth just three days later with Hennessey hoping that his teammate for club and country will be available to play a key role in the qualifier rather than dashing home to be at the birth.
"He's hoping he doesn't get the call until the day after [the game]," Hennessey said. "He's not been nervous, he's been really good and has been just keeping his phone on loud and with one of the members of staff to take his phone if he's out on the training field.
“He's been calm - it's their third so he's used to it now. I just hope it all goes well, and it’s fit and healthy and arrives a few days after the game.”
With Martin O’Neill’s team top of the group four points ahead of Wales, a win for the Red Dragons could prove pivotal in their quest to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958, but Hennessey is hoping that the familiarity of the Irish players could help the visitors in a fixture that the 65-time capped keeper has labelled “must win”.
“Ireland are in pole position, and we haven’t had the best of starts so we are going to Dublin looking to put that right,” he added. “It is a massive game for us, and this is a must-win match even though it is away from home. There are several good teams in the group, which is unusual.
"It's difficult opposition but we know what they're all like, we know all of their players and their style of play. It will probably be a hostile atmosphere for us but we'll grow from that. We have our game plan.
“Ireland are a great team, but we hope and believe we can win and get the points. There is more expectation now after what we did in the Euros.”