Wales can prove doubters wrong after Gareth Bale blow - Simon Church

Gareth Bale and Simon Church
Gareth Bale (L) and Simon Church celebrate during the Euro 2016 qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina
2018 World Cup qualifiers: Georgia v Wales
Venue: Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tblisi Date: Friday, 6 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales will be delighted if people underestimate them after losing star player Gareth Bale to injury, says fellow striker Simon Church.

Real Madrid forward Bale has been ruled out of Wales' final two World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland with a calf strain.

Wales are second in Group D and if they keep that spot it could be enough to earn them a place in the play-offs.

"A lot of people will write us off now, but we're used to that," Church said.

"Time and again we've proved people wrong, so it's a great opportunity to do that again.

"We've had a lot of injuries in the past campaign where someone has had to come in and fill a role and they have done."

Wales face Georgia in Tblisi on Friday, 6 October and then play Republic of Ireland in Cardiff three days later.

The worrying statistic for Wales is that the last time they won a qualifier without Bale was in 2013 against Macedonia - where Church scored the winner - and their last qualifying victory away from home was in 2009 against Azerbaijan.

"It's a big blow [Bale's injury], everyone knows what he can do... but I'm sure that'll create a good opportunity for someone to come in," added Church.

"Ben Woodburn has proved he can do that, there's a lot of players have played in that position before.

World Cup Qualifying Group D

"We always knew we had quality in the team, other players right through the spine.

"There's Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth - we've got a lot of Premier League experience.

"Even on the bench and in reserve we've got players playing at a very good level.

"We've got a good squad and the togetherness is why we've achieved so much."

Church is not involved with the Wales squad as he comes back from a long-term hip injury.

The 28-year-old is currently without a club after leaving Dutch Eredivisie side Roda JC Kerkrade, although he has turned down an offer from Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.


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