Belfast Telegraph

Wales are confident despite Bale absence

By Phil Blanche

Wales have moved to put the record straight on Gareth Bale's injury ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifier in Georgia.

Bale's calf problem has overshadowed the build-up to a game which is crucial to them making next month's play-offs.

The 28-year-old was ruled out of Wales' final qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland following dialogue between Bale's club Real Madrid and his country.

Wales feared Bale could be out of action for several weeks after sending him for a scan and receiving the results, possibly even ruling him out of potential play-off games.

European champions Real said on Wednesday that Bale had been diagnosed with "swelling but no tear in the soleus muscle of his left leg" and could be back playing in two weeks.

Wales are keen to play down any talk of a club versus country row and boss Chris Coleman said: "He's not trained with us or been in any session with us.

"Unfortunately there's a bit of damage in his calf," he added.

"We have to wait and see how long - that news will come from Real Madrid."

Second-placed Wales might need to win their final two games to make the play-offs, although four points could be enough if certain results in other groups go their way.

Despite Bale's absence, Coleman has plenty of attacking options with Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn among them.

"We are used to missing Gareth, Aaron (Ramsey) and Joe (Allen)," said Coleman.

"But we have enough quality," he added.

Wales have seven players on yellow cards and another booking would rule them out of the Republic's visit to Cardiff on Monday night.

  • Georgia  v Wales, World Cup Qualifying Group D: Boris Paichadze Arena, Today, 5.00pm

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