Sport

Coleman: Wales are ready for Serbia test

By Rich Jones

Wales boss Chris Coleman admits he is well aware of the importance of their clash with Serbia at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday night (7.45).

Coleman’s side have experienced a mixed start to their World Cup qualification campaign and were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against Georgia last month.

But the 46-year-old believes his team have “got their edge back” as they prepare to take on a Serbia side who currently top of Group D.

With a sold-out crowd set to be in attendance in Cardiff, Coleman is keen to send out a message to their rivals in their final fixture of 2016.

Coleman said: “We’ve got seven games now, so every game is important and you can’t miss that opportunity to take a step forward.

“We need to get the performance right and we need to make another statement, because now we don’t play until after Christmas which is a long time.

“We’ve got to get the performance right and we’ve got to get our mind-set right. I have got complete faith in the players in terms of their focus on our game plan.

“This week we’ve seen it (an edge that was missing last game). We don’t want to sound too critical of the boys in the last camp. We’re unbeaten so far in this campaign and only two points behind the leaders.

“We want to keep pushing on. We talked about complacency and comfort zone, but we don’t want to go anywhere near that.

“This will be as big a test as we’ve had, and it’s a great challenge for us. We’ve talked about it this week, how we’re going to go about our business, so we’re looking forward to this game. I think it will be one of the best games of the campaign.

“They (Serbia) are certainly the team in this group that has started the best, but they’re not unbeatable by any stretch.

“It’s going to a good game between two good teams, and I think looking at our first three games and their first three games there are quite possibly going to be goals.

“We’ve just got to make sure we come out on top in our own little person battles. Like I said earlier, we’ve got that edge about us and the atmosphere is going to be fantastic, so we’re looking forward to a good night.”

The Dragons are boosted by the return of talismanic midfielder Aaron Ramsey after his recent injury lay-off.

Coleman was quick to praise the impact of the Arsenal star and confirmed he will make an instant return to the starting line-up.

“He’s ready and he looks great,” he commented. “We were without him for the first three games, which was a blow for us – it would be a blow for anyone. It’s disappointing and frustrating.

“Take him out of any team and it’s a loss. In my personal opinion there’s not a team on the planet he couldn’t play for.

“That’s not a biased opinion because I’m a Welshman and we all love Rambo. I’m looking at it clinically. Playing in tournament against the top teams, he was head and shoulders above.

“So it’s nice to have him back. He’s not played too much football for Arsenal – of course he’s going to start the game as we sit here now.

“However long he’ll last, physically, we don’t know, but we do know he’s generally probably one of the fittest players playing football.

“Looking at the history of the last two months, we have to see where he’s at but he will start the game.”

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