In a massive blow for Page’s side, the 32-year-old Cardiff City midfielder’s knee injury suffered in training looks likely to keep the former Arsenal man out for a significant period of time with surgery a possibility.
Ramsey joins Tottenham Hotspur forward Brennan Johnson on the sidelines, with ex-Swansea City defender Ben Davies likely to take the captains armband for the matchup against the World Cup semi-finalists and friendly against Gibraltar at Wrexham’s newly named Stōk Cae Ras ground.
Swans’ duo Liam Cullen and Ben Cabango will hope for minutes, whilst two new faces Reading midfielder Charlie Savage, son of former international Robbie and Dundee’s Owen Beck make the squad for the first time.
Wales, looking to build on last month’s 2-0 victory in Riga against Latvia lie fourth in Group D three points behind Croatia and Turkey at the top of the standings.
Nothing less than a positive result is likely to keep faint hopes of automatic qualification to the finals in Germany next summer with the prospect of the play-offs in March a likely scenario.
The two sides met in Page’s side’s first match of the qualifying campaign in March, where a debut goal for Ipswich Town forward Nathan Broadhead late on rescued a late point in a 1-1 draw in Split.
“To even be mentioning surgery means it a significant injury”, commented Page on Ramsey’s injury.
“I have had injuries myself in my career and there are always alternatives. Let it heal naturally or go down the surgery route.
“I think if there is an option to heal naturally I would always personally take that as well. I get why he has gone done the natural healing option. Hopefully, he won’t miss beyond November.
“So we are confident we will get him back for the November camp, providing how well he heels. We don’t know though, he might get to a certain point and have a setback. We will have to see.
We know it’s all about the qualifying game again. We’ve had a couple of injuries but whatever eleven go out on the pitch, they will be playing for the three points.
“It’s a big game for us. It is in our hands now. The way the boys reacted in September was incredible to get us back in the fold and there is no bigger chance now than against Croatia.”
Johnson, meanwhile, misses out with a slight hamstring problem picked up in the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham, with Page unwilling to take any risks on the former Nottingham Forest forward.
“It’s not a serious one. Unfortunately, the timing dictates this and so if he is not going to be right for Spurs then it is not fair for us to pick him and try to play him.”
Wales squad to face Croatia & Gibraltar:
Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Joe Rodon (Leeds United), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Chris Mepham (AFC Bournemouth), Regan Poole (Portsmouth), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Owen Beck (Dundee), Connor Roberts (Burnley), Wes Burns (Ipswich Town), Ethan Ampadu (Leeds United), Charlie Savage (Reading), Jordan James (Birmingham City), Dylan Levitt (Hibernian), Josh Sheehan (Bolton Wanderers), Dan James (Leeds United), Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich Town), Harry Wilson (Fulham), David Brooks (AFC Bournemouth), Liam Cullen (Swansea City), Luke Harris (Fulham), Kieffer Moore (AFC Bournemouth), Tom Bradshaw (Millwall).
[Feature image: Football Association of Wales]
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