Williams seeks Wales win for ‘momentum’

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Wales captain Ashley Williams is one booking away from a suspension and must tread carefully against Austria
2018 World Cup qualifiers
Date: Saturday, 2 September Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Captain Ashley Williams believes Wales need to beat Austria on Saturday to generate the momentum necessary to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Wales are third in Group D, four points behind joint leaders Serbia and the Republic of Ireland with four games left.

The group winners qualify automatically with the eight best of nine runners-up going through to the play-offs.

“It’s one we feel we must win,” Williams said about the Austria game.

“That’s what we haven’t had, that momentum in that campaign, which has been frustrating.

“But I do feel like it changed after the Serbia game [in June], which was still a draw but we felt like it was a good draw for us.

“It felt like the start then. If we can win this game, then we can keep this momentum going for the last three after this. That will be the plan and pick up a bit of steam to finish the campaign.”

We go inside the Wales HQ ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Austria.

After starting their campaign with a 4-0 win over Moldova – who they face again three days after Austria – Wales have stuttered ,drawing five games in succession for the first time in their history.

They have squandered a lead in four of those, with the only other game ending goalless in the Republic of Ireland.

Wales’ inability to see games out is a concern for Williams and the Everton centre-back is hoping for a more assured display from his team against Austria.

“It’s something we’ve spoken about, we need to do better when we’re in the lead,” he said.

“If that does happen, which hopefully it does, we’ll be in a better position to keep that lead and score again and manage the game better.

“It’s something we’ve not been happy with so we’ll have to worker harder than we have done to put that right.”

‘Are you actually Gareth Bale?’: Welsh superfan meets his hero

Wales will be without midfielder Joe Allen and left-back Neil Taylor against Austria because of suspensions, having been without forward Gareth Bale against Serbia in June after he was banned for one game for receiving his second yellow card of the campaign against the Republic of Ireland.

Bale will be back for Saturday’s fixture in Cardiff, though Williams is only one yellow card away from a one-match suspension.

Ben Davies, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey and Jazz Richards are in the same position having been booked earlier in the campaign.

“You’re aware of it and don’t want to pick up a silly one but, at the same time, if you do pick up a yellow it’s football, you have to deal with it and someone else comes in,” Williams added.

“We’re missing Joe which is not very good for us and we’d prefer him out there but it’s football and that’s the rule. You just have to get on with it.”

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