Saturday 29 April 2017

Chris Gunter: Wales 'more than capable' of getting result in Serbia without Bale

Chris Gunter, right, believes Wales will prove they are not a one-man band when they attempt to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive without Gareth Bale
Chris Gunter, right, believes Wales will prove they are not a one-man band when they attempt to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive without Gareth Bale
Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman holds his broken leg after a challenge from Wales' Neil Taylor

Chris Gunter believes Wales will prove they are not a one-man band when they attempt to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive without Gareth Bale.

The Real Madrid forward picked up his second yellow card of the campaign during Friday night's fiery goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Bale must serve a one-match suspension and will miss the visit to Group D leaders Serbia on June 11.

Neil Taylor will also be absent in Belgrade, the Aston Villa defender facing a potential three-match ban for the challenge which saw Republic captain Seamus Coleman require surgery on his shattered right leg.

"We've missed important players in the past and we've always said it's not a one-man team," Gunter said.

"For Gaz to play well, he needs the team. That won't change in the summer.

"It's up to us to fill that gap, go there and get a result.

"You'd rather him in your team, but he's not there and we've got to get a result.

"We're more than capable with the squad we have to go and do that."

The talismanic Bale, who has scored four goals in this campaign, has not missed a competitive international since October 2013 - 21 games ago.

And his absence could not have come at a worse time, with third-placed Wales four points adrift of Serbia and the Republic at the halfway stage.

But Gunter said: "We've still got enough games to put a run of wins together, and you can't predict how other results will go.

"We'd like to have picked up a couple more points, but it's never easy to qualify.

"We're still unbeaten and we're not far away from turning these draws into victories.

"Even though it could be better, we're not in the worst position we've ever been in.

"We've shown in the past that we can go anywhere and put wins together. We've got to remember that and stay positive."

The Dublin draw was overshadowed by the horrendous injury to Everton defender Coleman in the 69th minute.

Coleman was treated at length on the pitch and given oxygen before being taken off the field on a stretcher.

Asked if there was some incitement, with Republic midfielder Glenn Whelan having earlier struck his Stoke team-mate Joe Allen with a flailing forearm, Wales manager Chris Coleman said: "Our boys will stand up for themselves because you have to.

"Take the Seamus Coleman incident out of it and there was a bit of needle, but you've got to expect that.

"What you don't expect is for anybody to come off with a serious injury - you don't want to see that.

"But there are no complaints for me, saying the Irish boys are this, that or the other. Ireland did what they needed to do."

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