Gabbidon ready for long-awaited return

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Danny Gabbidon will end almost two years on the sidelines when he makes his return for Wales next week in a friendly against Montenegro in Podgorica.

The West Ham defender has not played for his country since the 0-0 draw against Germany in Frankfurt in November 2007 and his last competitive senior game for the Hammers was a Carling Cup tie against Everton a month later.

Since then Gabbidon, 30 on Saturday, has missed 15 internationals and battled against a succession of injuries relating to complex abdominal problems, but on Friday Wales boss John Toshack was finally able to name the former Cardiff man in his squad, while also recalling Craig Bellamy, who has not played for his country since March because of a knee injury.

There is also a comeback for Gabbidon's club-mate James Collins, who has missed two internationals with back trouble.

Toshack is without goalkeeper Boaz Myhill (hand), defender Gareth Bale (knee) and midfielder Simon Davies (foot), while Blackpool's David Vaughan has been given compassionate leave because of his wife's pregnancy.

For Gabbidon this recall is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, when at times there were concerns that he would ever play again.

In fact, his first full 90 minutes for West Ham since the injury was only last week in China, when Gabbidon scored in the 2-0 win over Beijing Guoan in the Barclays Asia Trophy.

Otherwise, Gabbidon had appeared briefly in four other pre-season friendlies.

Gabbidon said after the game in Beijing: "The game and the goal made me feel better about myself, it was good to be back. You do get down and wonder when you're going to get back. But you have to stay positive as negative thoughts don't help.

"I had a couple of days at the end of last season training with Wales, with West Ham's permission, and that was a really big boost after what has been my hardest time in football."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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David Vaughan
League Cup
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Cardiff City
Simon Davies
James Collins
John Toshack
Gareth Bale
West Ham United
Boaz Myhill

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