Coleman: Lots of positives from stalemate

Wales national team manager Chris Coleman was pleased with what he saw from his fringe players in their 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday.

The Northern Irish took the lead thanks to Watford defender Craig Cathcart on the hour mark, but an 89th minute penalty from Simon Church salvaged a draw for the Dragons.

Wales played the match without many of their star names such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Andy King, and James Collins, but those on the pitch gave Coleman plenty to think about ahead of Euro 2016.

"It was always going to be a tough one for us," Coleman told BBC Sport. "We have seven or eight players [absent] who would normally start, or who had started in the [qualifying] campaign.

"But it was a bigger picture tonight that we had to look at. We would have got a lot of positives from it even if we had lost 1-0. I was pleased for the guys. We got out of it what we wanted.

"Danny Ward won his first cap, which is great for him, Lloyd Isgrove got his first cap, which is brilliant. It was nice to see Andrew Crofts coming back too, plus Adam Matthews has got back in the frame and played 90 minutes."

The Welsh also take on Ukraine in Kiev on Monday in their penultimate friendly before they head to France for the Euros, which begin in June.

"I will see how the guys are after this game," Coleman added. "Ukraine is going to be another tough one. We will have to wait and see how the guys recover. Then I'll know what I've got to play with."

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