Former Blades boss looks to future with Wales

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Wales manager Gary Speed has warned his players a victory against England would be only the first step on a long road.

The former Sheffield United boss came into the job after a run of three defeats at the start of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, the first of which came under John Toshack and the subsequent two under caretaker boss Brian Flynn.

The former international midfielder knows it is a long shot to expect Wales to get back into contention for a place in next summer’s finals, which is why he already has one eye on the 2014 World Cup campaign.

He would love Wales to win at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, but said: “Whatever happens against England it is a part of the step towards our final goal which is qualification.

“If we beat England, we can’t allow that to be our finest moment. We need to make sure our finest moment is qualification.”

He added: “In terms of qualification from this group it’s going to be very difficult because we’ve already lost the first three games and if we win the next five we might still not have enough points to qualify.

“I think the important thing is to make sure when the 2014 qualifiers start in 18 months’ time we’re in a place to compete.”

The former Leeds, Everton and Newcastle player is determined to make Wales a more solid team: “If we do qualify, then great. But I think in the longer term we need to consistently compete. We can’t be having these peaks and troughs where we’re competitive for a few years and then in the wilderness for four or five years and then competitive again for a couple of years.”

Norwich are close to signing Sam Vokes. The striker, who has recently been on loan from Wolves to Sheffield United, is expected to join the Championship promotion hopefuls today.