Joe Allen: Wales can cope without suspended Bale

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Joe Allen insists Wales still have the capacity to travel to Serbia and win despite the absence through suspension of Gareth Bale.

The Real Madrid star was given his second booking of the World Cup qualifying campaign for a late foul on John O’Shea to earn a ban for his nation’s next game in June.

Wales have won just once in seven years without Bale in their line-up and only three times since his debut in 2008.

Gareth Bale consoles Joe Allen after the 0-0 draw against Ireland on Friday night

Bale picked up a booking for a late challenge on Ireland defender John O'Shea

Bale picked up a booking for a late challenge on Ireland defender John O’Shea

Allen admits Wales will miss their main talent but believes they can cope, targeting victory in Belgrade after drawing against Republic of Ireland to stay four points off top of Group D at the halfway stage.

‘It’s always disappointing when people miss out through suspension but in our last campaign we had it,’ Allen said.

‘I was one of the ones that missed out but this group of lads deals with things like that. And we’ll look forward to the game and ending our season with three points.

‘We’re going to miss him, I’m not going to try to deflect from that, but we’ve had games without Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies – important players for us – and we’ll just have to cope with it.

The Real Madrid star will now miss Wales' trip to Serbia in June due to suspension

The Real Madrid star will now miss Wales’ trip to Serbia in June due to suspension

‘Serbia will obviously be glad that he’s not playing but we certainly feel we’ ve got enough to go out there and overcome that.’

Allen has not giving up on reaching Russia 2018 despite a fourth consecutive draw and an uphill task, adding: ‘We can take three points off everyone, which is what we’ve still got in our hands.

‘We’ve played everyone once now and there’s no teams that really scare us in this group so we can take confidence from that.

‘We’re still unbeaten and we’re not going to make it easy for anyone. This group is capable of doing special things and we can do it once again.’

Bale came close to giving Wales all three points but saw a late effort go just wide

Bale came close to giving Wales all three points but saw a late effort go just wide

The 0-0 result in Dublin was overshadowed by Seamus Coleman’s broken leg in the 69th minute after a bad challenge by Neil Taylor, who was sent off and will also miss the Serbia trip at least.

Allen said: ‘Tayls is one of my best mates and he’s really disappointed that one of his tackles has ended up getting someone hurt. He’s in bits, to be honest.

‘There was no malice in the tackle and he certainly wouldn’t have intended to hurt anyone. Everyone hopes it’s not as bad as it looked and that Seamus has a good recovery.’

Allen was on the receiving end himself in the first half as Glenn Whelan leant a forearm into his club teammate’s face. The pair engaged in a heated argument but Allen insists once back at Stoke’s training ground the incident will be forgotten.

Joe Allen was on the receiving end of an elbow from Stoke team-mate Glenn Whelan

Joe Allen was on the receiving end of an elbow from Stoke team-mate Glenn Whelan

‘He’s given me assurances that he didn’t mean it,’ Allen said. ‘It happens when you come up against players you know, teammates, and there’s no hard feelings at all.

‘I’ll have to see it back. At the time I thought I was caught by an elbow. Who knows? But I don’t really care less at this point.’

On the contest itself, Allen added: ‘I think we were growing into the game and they looked like they were tiring.

‘Unfortunately we went down to 10 men and from that point on it was always going to be difficult to get a win, especially with the way they still set up when we had 10 men.

‘I’m sure they’ll see it as an important point but it’s frustrating for us that we didn’t get all three – that’s what we came for.

‘I think the way the game panned out it is a good point. We still tried to push for three and they obviously threw the kitchen sink at it late on with the long throws and the corners and balls into the box. We had to defend really well.’



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