Canary striker Steve Morison will carry the hopes of a nation into World Cup battle this evening as Wales look to right the wrongs of Friday night’s 2-0 defeat by Belgium away in Serbia.
James Collins’ 25th dismissal was deemed by many to be the turning point in a game that Wales boss Chris Coleman would have desperately liked to have won.
Rarely has a Wales boss been able to field such an array of promising talent – led, of course, by Spurs’ Gareth Bale.
Up top, however, is 29-year-old City striker Morison who looked at his combative best in the final stages of Norwich’s 1-1 draw with Bale and Co at White Hart Lane.
This evening, however, his energies will be reserved for prising a result out of the Serbs after they started their own World Cup campaign with a 0-0 draw against Scotland at the weekend.
“It’s very important we go out with the attitude we can win every game,” Morison told WalesOnline this week.
Serbia (a) is never one for the faint hearts – particularly on their own soil in front of a particularly partisan international crowd.
Morison, however, was certainly talking a good game ahead of this evening’s clash given the strength of character and player at Coleman’s disposal these days.
“Somebody will go to Serbia and win and I see no reason why that can’t be us,” he added. “We will be in good spirits there. It will be a very different game, but it is one we are very much looking forward to.”
All City boss Chris Hughton will be looking forward to is getting all his international stars back in one piece ahead of Saturday’s lunch-time clash with West Ham United as Premier League hostilities resume.
Given the nature of the Serbian beast and Morison’s own, committed nature, this evening’s clash is likely to be of the full-bloodied variety. No quarter given; no challenge spared.
A sense of injustice also appears to be driving the Principality on after starting so brightly against the Belgians only for Collins’ controversial exit to shift the balance of play.
“I thought we were on top until we had someone sent off,” said Morison, as he looked back at the fateful challenge that threw a very large and very unwelcome spanner into Wales’ World Cup works.
“From where I was the tackle did not look to bad. I thought there were a few iffy decisions in the game and they seemed to go against us,” he said.
“We worked hard and we started the game exactly as we wanted to. I thought we had the better chances and then we are down to ten men. You could talk about luck, but all we can do now is dust ourselves down and go for it in Serbia.”
Friday’s 2-0 defeat was the fourth game in a row that Wales have drawn a blank goals-wise – adding that little bit extra level of pressure on Morison.
But boss Coleman remained confident that Wales had both the ability and the attitude to bring that sorry sequence to a close this evening.
“The longer you go and you don’t score the more of a psychological thing it can become,” he admitted, in the run up to tonight’s clash.
“So we now have to go to Serbia, put in a performance like we did against Belgium and we need to put the ball in the net, we are aware of that.”