IT’S a little scary to note that, if things don’t go to plan for Wales over the next seven days, the Chris Coleman era could well be over by this time next week.

Immediately after guiding Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 Coleman said that he would leave his post at the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The ideal way for the most successful manager in the history of the national side to bow out would be in Russia next summer.

But it could well be all over by next Monday night if Wales fail to beat Georgia in Tbilisi this Friday and the Republic of Ireland at a sold-out Cardiff City Stadium three days later.

Wales realistically require two wins to secure a second-place finish behind Serbia in Group D.

A total of 20 points should be enough to make the play-offs and extend Coleman’s reign for at least another month.

But even that is not certain with one of the nine group runners-up set to miss out.

And Wales currently sit bottom of the table that determines who will make the play-offs, albeit only on goal difference with Bosnia.

In contrast to England, where the international break is seen as an inconvenient interruption to the Premier League, this side of the border the stakes couldn’t be higher for these final two qualifiers.

It was Ben Woodburn who pulled Wales back from the brink last month with two superb substitute appearances.

The 17-year-old Liverpool forward scored a spectacular goal to beat Austria (below) and then provided the cross for Hal Robson-Kanu to head in the crucial opener in Moldova.

South Wales Argus:

Coleman has called up another top prospect in David Brooks for these two matches but in Gareth Bale's absence he will need his other star men to be at the top of their game if they are to keep the dream alive this week.

Aaron Ramsey seems to be running into form for Arsenal and Joe Ledley has finally found himself a club, which a big boost for Coleman’s plans.

He’ll also be hoping that the likes of Robson-Kanu and captain Ashley Williams can rise above their underwhelming club form and replicate their inspirational performances of last summer.

Now more than ever Wales need to tap into the spirit of their glorious Euro 2016 adventure to ensure that they can create more magic memories in Moscow and beyond.

Of course, whatever happens over the next seven days, Coleman will remain a national hero.

And if he’s facing the dreaded vote of confidence at West Ham, Swansea City or Everton this Christmas he can draw comfort from his memories of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris and Lille (below).

South Wales Argus:

But success, even for a country starved of it for so long, makes us greedy.

We want the Red Wall to march on Red Square belting out ‘Don’t take me home’.

We want Joe Allen’s name sung in the streets of St Petersburg and Chris Gunter serenaded to the tune of Ghostbusters in Sochi.

We want more of the same and so does Coleman.

His legendary status is already secure but qualification for a first World Cup since 1958 would be a fitting way to conclude this enthralling chapter in Welsh sporting history.