World Cup qualifiers: Wales can cope without Bale - Allen

Gareth Bale and Joe Allen
Joe Allen (R) says Wales have a 'Plan B' even when Gareth Bale plays
World Cup qualifier: Serbia v Wales
Date: Sunday, 11 June Venue: Stadion Rajko Mitić, Belgrade Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Joe Allen says Wales' squad can cope without Gareth Bale in Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Group D leaders Serbia.

Real Madrid forward Bale misses the trip to Belgrade through suspension.

Stoke midfielder Allen said: "We see it as a chance to tackle that challenge and we are confident we still have enough in that squad to go out there and get a good result."

He also aims to use the motivation of Wales' 6-1 defeat by Serbia in 2012.

Allen described that September night as his "worst night in a Welsh shirt" and hopes memories of it can galvanise Wales against the Serbs.

Wales are third in Group D - four points behind Serbia and second-placed Republic of Ireland - as they head past the halfway stage.

But they are without Bale, who has netted four times in this campaign, because he second yellow card in it during their 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in March.

Allen said: "We are going to miss him, there is no point hiding from that fact.

"He's key to us and he's a world-class player, but one of the main qualities of this group is that we're all about team work and we are all about resilience.

"I like to think we have always got a 'plan B' even when we have him playing. It can be about relying on him to pull the rabbit out of the hat, but even when he's playing it's not as simple as that in international football.

"You learn that and whether its offensively or defensively we have to deal with the Serbians in many different ways."

Joe Allen
Joe Allen joined Stoke City from Liverpool for £13m in July 2016.

The scars of Novi Sad

Allen is set to win his 36th cap in Belgrade and was part of the Wales team who were thrashed in Novi Sad on their last visit to Serbia.

He admitted: "I think that scarred anyone who was involved in that game. It scarred us. For me it was the worst night in a Welsh shirt.

"But I think I the great thing about going back out there, having another chance is we can see how far we have come.

"Some of the lads are still in the squad, some are new players, but we are a million miles away from the team that turned out that night.

"That's a positive and I think we can draw on that going into this game. As players you cannot help but carry that feeling of wanting to set the record straight.

"And I don't know about all the lads but I think I will be using that to try and help me in this game as well."

'It's not must-win' - Allen

However Allen, insists this game is not a 'must-win' as Wales go into a key match a year to the day since they opened their memorable Euro 2016 campaign with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux.

Allen was part of Coleman's side then and said: "We have tried to use all the positives of last summer.

"I hope we will be able to do that throughout our careers - it was such a pivotal moment and highlight that you can only draw inspiration from that.

"It's gone fast, to think its a year is incredible really. But the vibe and the atmosphere in the camp is just as good as it was then and that's a real positive for us."

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