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GARDNER READY FOR CALL

Posted on 9 January 2006  - 12:00

Anthony Gardner says he is ready and waiting should he be called upon during the busy festive period.

Anthony Gardner says he is ready and waiting should he be called upon during the busy festive period.

The central defender completed his second full game for the reserves since recovering from a thigh injury against Watford on Monday and he reports he is pleased with his conditioning and sharpness. With games against Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and Manchester City coming up in quick succession, Anthony realises the importance of being prepared to step should injuries strike.

"I feel alright and I am getting game-time to get my fitness back," he reflected. "My fitness and game feels quite good now and I have played two full games and a 60 minutes.

"It is a different type of intensity in the reserves, but you have got to play these games to get yourself up to a certain level. It is a natural progression from training towards performing in the Premiership.

You use it as a stepping stone and hope you get the chance to then go out and do your stuff

"I've got to show a bit of patience now and we've got a lot of games coming up over Christmas. With four games in ten days you've got to be fortunate to play in every game so, hopefully, if I get a chance to play I can go out and do the business."

One downside for Anthony on Monday is the fact that he was one of Watford's goalscorers. His back pass was missed by keeper Robert Burch and rolled into the net to give the home side the lead on 11 minutes.

"It was credited to me - so there you go!" he laughed. "There is not a lot I can do about it and it goes down as an OG... These things happen, you play a back pass and the ball bobbles up and it goes down as an own goal. It is unfortunate for a defender."