Gabbidon fitness boost

WEST HAM defender Danny Gabbidon has provided a timely boost for Gianfranco Zola after playing half an hour in Wales thumping 3-0 victory over Scotland on Saturday, WRITES DAVE EVANS. The 30-year-old centre half has not appeared in claret and blue since

WEST HAM defender Danny Gabbidon has provided a timely boost for Gianfranco Zola after playing half an hour in Wales' thumping 3-0 victory over Scotland on Saturday, WRITES DAVE EVANS.

The 30-year-old centre half has not appeared in claret and blue since excelling as an early substitute in the 3-2 home defeat by Liverpool back in mid-September.

Since then he has been included as an unused sub, but has been suffering from niggles to his calf and hip as he continues the long recovery from an abdominal injury that ruled him out for over a year.

However, he was introduced in Cardiff on Saturday with 30 minutes still to go and looked sharp as the Welsh saw off a dire Scotland side in emphatic style.

Jack Collison had already ruled himself out of the squad after coming off with a slight knock at half time during the match with Everton, but it was Gabbidon who provided the good news with his 43rd Welsh cap and he will come into Zola's thinking for the trip to Hull.

Manuel Da Costa is likely to hold on to his starting slot alongside Matty Upson, but Gabbidon will vie for a place on the bench with James Tomkins, who was forced to pull out of England under-21s clash with Portugal at Wembley on Saturday after picking up a knock in training.

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Junior Stanislas was also forced out of the England under-21 game with a virus, though he should be fit for Saturday, while Zavon Hines was an unused sub in the 1-0 win for England.

Elsewhere, Mr Versatile Jonathan Spector was forced into an emergency centre back role for the United States as they lost 1-0 in Bratislava to fellow World Cup qualifers Slovakia.

Valon Behrami played his first game for the South Africa-bound Swiss in a year, when he was used as a substitute against Norway in Geneva.

Switzerland were already a goal down when he came on in the 62nd minute and the score remained the same at full time.

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