Gareth Bale is eagerly looking forward to the crucial World Cup qualifier against Ireland in Dublin and believes Wales can still catch the group leaders.

Martin O’Neill’s side lead the way in Group D with a two-point lead over Serbia and a four-point advantage over third-placed Wales and earlier this week named a 39-man squad for next week’s clash at the Aviva Stadium.

While Bale has only made five appearances for Real Madrid since the end of November due to injury and suspension, the former Tottenham man looks set to continue his remarkable international record.

Bale has not missed a competitive international for nearly three-and-a-half years, and is raring to go as Wales seek to back up reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last summer by qualifying for a first World Cup since 1958.

The 27-year-old says the country's good form is “exciting” and he is looking forward to the Dublin date.

"We're still in a good position to qualify," Bale told the BBC's Football Focus programme.

"We're not too far off the leaders and we've got to play them next.

"It's still all to play for, it's very exciting times, and hopefully we can produce the same run as we did in the qualifiers in the Euros."

Bale, who is two short of equalling Ian Rush's 28-goal Wales record, could be joined in Dublin by Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn.

Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts has admitted Woodburn - who became Liverpool's youngest goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 45 days when he netted in the EFL Cup victory against Leeds in November - is "knocking on the door".

But Chester-born Woodburn, who has been involved in the Wales set-up since the age of 13, is also eligible to represent England.

Wales hope to convince Woodburn that his international future lies with them, and Coleman believes he has the temperament to make the step to the senior squad now.

As well as Bale, Coleman has been boosted by midfielder Aaron Ramsey starting Arsenal's last two games after a calf problem.

Danny Ward, the Liverpool goalkeeper on loan at Huddersfield and Wayne Hennessey's usual understudy, has also recovered from a leg injury.

Chris Maxwell's fine form in Preston's Sky Bet Championship play-off push has put pressure on Owain Fon Williams' role as the number three goalkeeper.

On-loan Ipswich midfielder Jonathan Williams has stepped up his recovery from a long-term shoulder problem, but striker Simon Church is set to miss out following hip surgery