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Wales defender Chris Gunter focused on task in hand

Credit: Paul Harding/EMPICS Sport

Wales stand on the brink of football history this week, with Chris Gunter admitting the pain of the past has driven them on in Euro 2016 qualifying.

Chris Coleman's side need only a point from their final two games, away to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and at home to Andorra on Tuesday, but the 61-times capped Gunter says there have been too many near-misses in the past to take qualification for granted.

This week feels different for some people looking in, but the routine is the same every time.

We prepare the exact same way whether top or bottom of the group and we are not thinking beyond Saturday.

We know the potential is there to get the job done on Saturday and then we'll look forward to Tuesday on Sunday morning.

That's the aim for us and the focus of the week, because when we've had two games we haven't thought about the second one.

– Chris Gunter, Wales defender


Labour hits back at Tory NHS attacks

Welsh Labour has hit back after criticism from Welsh Conservative leaders in Manchester. You can read extracts from speeches by Stephen Crabb and Andrew RT Davies by clicking here.

A Welsh Labour spokesperson said:

If the Tories are serious about fighting the next election on the NHS and leadership, then we are more than happy to engage on those terms. Their privatisation agenda for the NHS has long been roundly rejected by the Welsh people. The Tory health agenda in England has collapsed. Doctors are in open rebellion and more and more hospitals are going into special measures every day. The much trumpeted Cancer Drugs Fund is being scrapped as an expensive failure.

On leadership – we are confident that people recognise and respect Carwyn and feel that he’s on their side in fighting for the best deal for Wales. The same cannot be said for the anonymous Welsh Tory leader.

– Welsh Labour source


'Unfinished business' for James Hook

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

James Hook has admitted to a sense of World Cup "unfinished business" after his painful experience in New Zealand four years ago.

Wales reached the semi-finals of that tournament - their best performance on a global stage since 1987 - but an agonising 9-8 defeat against France in Auckland meant their dream ended as skipper Sam Warburton was sent off and Hook substituted just five minutes into the second period.

The Gloucester fly-half has only made four Wales starts since then, but his 80th cap could arrive on Saturday if - as looks likely - he will be involved in Wales' match-day 23 against Australia.

We've had some pretty major injuries which have opened the door to me, but now I am here it's about getting out there, enjoying it and giving my best.

Because I can cover so many positions, there is always an opportunity, and it took a few injuries for me to come in, but I am chuffed to be here now.

I have been running at centre and full-back a little bit more than at outside-half.

I am still quite familiar with those positions. It's just about getting into it and learning the calls and getting out there. I've been training well and it is no different to the last few years, and hopefully I can transfer that to a game.

– James Hook, Fly-half Gloucester
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