Collins receives Wales call

West Ham United defender James Collins has been named in the Wales squad for his country's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Finland and Germany.

The 25-year-old, who is back in training after a hamstring strain, is in line to earn his 28th and 29th caps in the Group Four fixtures at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The powerful centre-back has been an important figure for John Toshack's squad in their bid to reach next summer's finals in South Africa. Wales go into the pair of matches - to be held on Saturday 28 March and Wednesday 1 April respectively - third in their group, level on points with second-placed Russia.

Collins' West Ham team-mate Jack Collison misses out on selection after suffering a knee injury in the 1-0 Premier League victory at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday 4 March. The midfielder, who has four caps, is expected to be sidelined for out of action for around six weeks.

Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein round out Wales' six-team group, with the top team - currently Germany - qualifying automatically for the World Cup finals. Should Wales finish second, they will face a play-off against one of seven other second-placed finishers in the UEFA qualifying competition.

Wales have not reached a major tournament since qualifying for the World Cup in 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals before Pele's goal sent them to a 1-0 defeat by Brazil.