Bale was benched for the entirety of the 2-1 defeat in Macedonia on Friday, which ended Welsh hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.
That led to claims Coleman had short-changed fans, but the former Fulham boss insisted he had no intention of playing Bale, and that the former Southampton man would again be on the bench against the Serbs.
Coleman did hint that Bale could be used as a substitute, though.
"I’m not thinking about just one game," Coleman said. "I’ve got to look at the bigger picture.
"When we are selecting the team, we are thinking of sending players back fit and not risking them. We have to build long-term relationships and look after players properly.
"It’s the same for all of them, whether it’s Gareth, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Collison.
"Will Gareth be ready to start against Serbia? No. Can he play a part? We’ll see."
Bale has barely trained this summer, thanks to a combination of injury and his protracted but ultimately successful world-record move from Tottenham to Madrid.
Several others will miss out in Cardiff, with skipper Ashley Williams suspended and Jonny Williams and Sam Ricketts both injury doubts.