Gareth Bale: Wales manager Chris Coleman hopeful over forward's injury

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was substituted shortly before the hour mark in Lisbon on Tuesday

Wales manager Chris Coleman is optimistic injured forward Gareth Bale will be fit for the World Cup qualifier in the Republic of Ireland in March.

Real Madrid's Bale, 27, will have ankle surgery on Tuesday and is expected to be out for four months.

However, Coleman said: "I'm hoping it's going to be more like three months.

"He's an absolute machine and physically he's an absolute specimen. We'll know a little bit more probably next week or the week after."

Bale hobbled out of Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon with what has been diagnosed as a "traumatic dislocation of the peroneal tendons" in his right ankle.

Wales are third in Group D, four points adrift of leaders the Republic, who they face at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on 24 March.

Bale has scored four times in Wales' opening four qualifiers and is now second to Ian Rush on his country's all-time goalscoring list with 26 goals.

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