Question mark over Bale’s fitness ahead of Serbia showdown
Scotland ready for physical battle ahead of their clash with Macedonia
Gareth Bale did not feature in Wales’ defeat to Macedonia because of a groin strain, and has gone for a scan to determine whether he will be involved against Serbia. Photograph: PA
Gareth Bale played a full part in Wales training following a scan on his groin strain, but a decision over his availability for the World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff will be left as late as possible.
Bale, the world’s most expensive player following the completion of his €100 million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid, was an unused substitute when Wales slumped to a 2-1 loss against Macedonia in Skopje.
Manager Chris Coleman had insisted Bale was injured when questioned on his decision not to use him on Friday.
But it was only on Monday that the Wales boss revealed Bale had picked up a groin problem in training at the Philip II Arena on Thursday, and was undergoing a scan on the problem.
Following his scan, Bale was fit enough to take a full part in training with the rest of the squad at Cardiff City Stadium.
A Football Association of Wales spokesman also said Bale will be assessed to see if he suffers any reaction to the session, with a final decision likely to be taken when Coleman comes to name his matchday squad today.
Meanwhile, Scotland captain Scott Brown has warned his team-mates to prepare for a physical “battle” against Macedonia tonight.
Brown played against the Macedonians twice in Scotland’s previous World Cup campaign, which resulted in one win for each team, but missed the Hampden draw between the sides last year.
However, the Celtic midfielder noted the physical nature of Macedonia’s 2-1 win over Wales on Friday, which saw four players booked from each side.
Brown has never been one to shirk a physical encounter and urged his team-mates to meet the challenge head on.
He said: “I heard the other day that they kicked Wales off the park and were in for every challenge and were aggressive. We are going to have to do that as well. It’s time we managed to do both sides, not just the pretty football.
“But there are players in there who can do that. We can battle, we can win the ball, and we can also play.”– PA