Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men will be looking to put on a solid display when they come up against Ryan Giggs’ Wales in an international friendly at the Racecourse in Wrexham from 7:45pm (3:45 pm TT time).
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence addressed the Welsh media at a press briefing just prior to the team’s final training session at the game venue on Tuesday evening. The former Wrexham captain was asked to comment on his history with the club but he of course was more focused on the task ahead which is to try and guide his side to a decent performance on Wednesday night.
Under Lawrence, T&T has conceded just three goals in six encounters dating back to March 2018. They’ve won two, drawn one, lost one to Panama prior to that country’s 2018 World Cup appearance and lost their previous two, 1-0 to both Thailand and Iran.
Former Trinidad and Tobago defender Marvin Andrews showed up at Tuesday’s session to offer his support and led the team in prayer both at the start and the end of the session. Andrews is a former Wrexham player himself and Chris Birchall will also attend Wednesday’s match. Also looking on at Tuesday’s session was former Welsh legend Joey Jones who was a Wrexham coach during Lawrence’s playing days at the club along with Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam. Jones played 72 times for Wales and also won the European Cup with Liverpool and the English League championship in 1977.
“In terms of our preparations I think we have done as much as we can. We all arrived here safely an no injuries to report The boys are looking forward to the game against Wales after a good afternoon session,” Lawrence said.
“This is my second home so it’s always great pleasure to be back especially at Wrexham football club because this clubs means a lot to me and I’ve got a good affiliation with the people at the club so I’m delighted to be here. The most exciting thing for me is I want the boys to get an experience of what this beautiful place can offer them and the only way for them to do that is to be able to go in and put in a performance. I’m excited and a bit emotional but looking forward to it all,” added the former Everton assistant.
About the T&T side and the preparations at this time, Lawrence told the Welsh media, “We’re in the rebuilding stage because after we didn’t qualify for Russia we then immediately started to think about Qatar 2022 and to be able to do that we had to put in a process in place and part of the process is now where we are … going into the Gold Cup in June.
“We’ve got a young with some experience players.. a nice mixed bunch at the moment. We’ve got players with some fantastic qualities. It’s now getting them to play as a team to be in a professional manner and all work for each other. The idea going into the game tomorrow is to compete because we want to compete against teams like Wales who are world class in my eyes. They’ve got world class talent in Gareth (Bale) and Aaron (Ramsey ) and Joe Allen and Ashley and all these boys. We are in that phase now where we need to compete against these and see if we can put in the performances,” Lawrence added.
Israel-based winger Levi Garcia is hoping to have an impact following a return to the T&T side from injury for much of 2018.
“It’s good to be back in the squad and I’m really honoured and thankful to have gotten the call again from coach Lawrence. It’s a big game for us and very important as part of the preparations for the Gold Cup,” Garcia told TTFA Media. “The mood has been good. We’ve had two good training sessions here and everyone is looking forward to putting in a strong performance in the match.
Giggs told the Press at Wales’ media briefing earlier on Tuesday that four of his players were unavailable including Aaron Ramsey who missed a training session due to a thigh problem, In-form Swansea City star Daniel James, Anderlecht defender James Lawrence and Bournemouth winger David Brooks all trained separately from the main group during an open training session at the AON complex on Tuesday morning.The three needed additional time to recuperate after hectic schedule for their clubs in recent weeks, according to Giggs.
“Some players have not played since last week, some players have played at the weekend,” added the Wales manager. James Lawrence played on Sunday evening so he met up with us on Monday. Dan James has played a lot of games in a short space of time and the way that he is, he’s a dynamic player, we just thought we’d give him another day but he’s fine,” Giggs said.
“It’s just a balancing act. Players are at different stages so some players need games, some don’t. It’s a good opportunity with the friendly fixture that we can do that (mix up selection). We’ll just have to see as we go along in the game,” he added.
The match will be aired live on Sky Sports.