Wales ready for crunch battle without Gareth Bale, says coach Chris Coleman

"But one of the main qualities of this group is that we are all about teamwork and we are all about resilience".

"If you want that again, we need to take care of this challenge - because if you want to go and sample tournament football, we need to take care of business now".

"Other people say "this is 90 minutes, I'm going to enjoy this and it will make me better".

Wales will also be missing suspended defender Neil Taylor and injured striker Hal Robson-Kanu, leaving Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in the spotlight as the man to pull the strings against an adventurous home side.

Group leaders Serbia are level on points with Ireland and the pair have a four-point lead over third-placed Wales.

"This will come in Belgrade and that's what we'll talk about with our players".

"They can not afford to lose because if they do I think they'll have too much to do, they've got to get a result in Serbia against a very good side". I think we've seen that before in the past.

Coleman is a national hero these days and recently picked up an OBE at Buckingham Palace after guiding Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

"In the last campaign we drew at home to Bosnia and it was like we'd won".

"What happened in between was unprecedented, nobody thought we were going to get to those dizzy heights".

"But the more you're in it, you see it's not by coincidence".

GARETH BALE was absent during Wales training as Chris Coleman's side got their preparations for tomorrow's crunch World Cup qualifier against Serbia underway.

"Everybody looks at us differently and it's been tougher - we've been striving for so long to be in this position where teams take us seriously and the expectation is higher".

"I don't like talking past the next game, it's never served me right in the past", Coleman said. "I'm optimistic of getting a result in Serbia".

They can change the complexion of the group straight away by beating group leaders Serbia, who haven't so far lived up to their reputation for muscly defensive impregnability and were fortunate to get a point in Cardiff in November. Bale provides the stardust to an organised and workmanlike team, but Allen feels Wales can cope in the absence of their talismanic forward.

"We have gone to hard places before, we just need to do it again".

But most of all Coleman is an optimist, insistent Wales can secure a vital result in Serbia and give a nation reason to believe again.

  • Zachary Reyes