Gunter still going strong

Wales full-back eager to sign off on a high

Gunter: Prepared to play on

Chris Gunter has no problem with prolonging his season and taking in one more game with Wales.

The Nottingham Forest full-back could have been forgiven for wanting to join the long list of withdrawals from John Toshack's squad following a gruelling domestic campaign.

The 20-year-old was a regular for Forest throughout their Championship endeavours in 2009/10, with a productive season taking them into the play-offs.

Heartache against Blackpool in the semi-finals brought an abrupt end to their efforts to reach the Premier League, with tired legs proving costly.

Gunter, though, is not prepared to head off on his summer holidays just yet and insists he is only too happy to have an international away date with Croatia to look forward to on Sunday.

Disappointment

"It will be nice to get it out of the system a little bit," said Gunter, reflecting on Forest's 6-4 aggregate defeat against the Seasiders.

"It won't take away the disappointment, but to come away with Wales and have one more game before we go on holiday and stuff is good.

"Croatia are a really strong team, and it will be a massive test for us, especially at this stage of the season, but it is one the boys are looking forward to.

"As a professional footballer, if you don't want to come away and play for your country there is probably no point in being in the profession."

Wales will be forced to field a weakened side against the Croats, with a number of senior stars set to be missing, but Gunter believes that will provide an ideal opportunity for those on the fringes of the fold to prove their worth.

Opportunity

He added: "I am sure the people that come in will look to take advantage. All you can do is try to claim the shirt and then keep the shirt.

"I made my debut three seasons ago against New Zealand, and that's how people get their opportunities. The guys who have come in will be looking to take their chance.

"It would have been nice if we could have had a full-strength squad, but that's not to be.

"And if the same thing happens in the first (European Championship) qualifying game, it is down to the ones who are here to play.

"In a way, giving people their first caps can only be seen as a good thing."