Wales are confident Jess Fishlock will be fit for the World Cup play-offs after missing out on the final double qualifier earlier this month.
Fishlock, Wales’ most capped footballer with 134 appearances, has been named in a 26-man squad for the first of three potential play-offs against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Cardiff on October 6.
The 35-year-old midfielder has played just over half an hour for her American club OL Reign since missing Wales’ last group games against Greece and Slovenia due to a wound.
Wales manager Gemma Grainger said: “From the moment she left us we contacted the club to make sure Jess was at the center of everything.
“These two weeks we want to take care of her, as we did during the last camp, to make sure that she was at the center of all our decisions.
“She’s had a fantastic time at her club since, as they secured a place in the play-offs.
“Jess has a game this weekend, and then she’ll be jumping on that flight, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing her.”
Fishlock’s creativity was missed as Wales drew 0-0 with Slovenia in Cardiff to secure a place in the World Cup play-offs.
But Grainger insisted it was the right decision to omit Fishlock from such a big occasion, saying: “The important thing for us as a team is to make the right decisions, and we won’t put not our players in danger.
“The most important thing was what was good for Jess, for Wales and for the club itself.
“Being at the stage where she is in her career, we have to take care of her because playing as long as she can is our number one priority.”
Veteran Aston Villa striker Natasha Harding is unavailable for personal reasons and has been replaced in the squad by Bristol City’s Chloe Bull.
Harding, capped 103 times, is in a leadership role with the band, but Grainger is confident the void created by her absence can be filled.
She said: “We have many players who have leadership qualities, on and off the pitch.
“Tash is one of them, but in this campaign we’ve had different players at different times.
“It gives us great confidence in our preparations, knowing the strength of the team. We are in a very good position.
Wales are the favorites to advance to a second round of the play-off in Switzerland on October 11.
The two top-ranked play-off final winners will secure 2023 World Cup berths, with the other victorious team advancing to the intercontinental play-offs.
Wales will likely enter the intercontinental play-offs in February if they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland.
Over 9,000 tickets have already been sold for the Bosnia and Herzegovina game at the Cardiff City Stadium.
It put Wales on track to break their attendance record for a women’s home game, eclipsing the crowd of 12,741 that saw Slovenia draw on September 6.