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WALKING TALL AGAIN

Posted on 17 February 2007  - 12:00

Anthony Gardner said the togetherness of the team greatly helped him in slotting back into the First Team fold.

Anthony Gardner said the togetherness of the team greatly helped him in slotting back into the First Team fold.The central defender made his first start of the season on the FA Cup trip to Cardiff in January and he retained his place for four games before new signing Ricardo Rocha was handed a debut against Southend - also in the FA Cup.

Anthony returned to the side for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal and then featured in the home fixture against Manchester United, where he sustained a calf injury that kept him out our last game against Sheffield United.

He is confident of being fit to return when we travel to Fulham for the FA Cup 5th round tie on Sunday.

"I tried hard to stay at the level I left when I last played," said Anthony on easing his back in after a long absence. "I work hard on the training pitch to keep up to speed, the boys all help if you've been out for a bit and it is credit to them because we are a tight knit group who help each other.

"We are all in it together to achieve the same thing," he added, before saying our defenders can expect a tough afternoon against Fulham's robust attack that generally consists of the burly Brian McBride and Heidar Helguson.

"They don't hold back at all and have a very physical game. It is the way Fulham play and it will be a challenging game in which I will hopefully be involved."

Even though results have not gone our way in recent weeks, Anthony reports that spirits in the camp are still high, with plenty to play for between now and the end of the season.

"It has been disappointing and when you don't win a few game heads can start to drop a little bit. Our boys are keeping positive though, we are still involved in a couple of competitions and it is not like we are in February and it is the end of our season. Far from it.

"We've got things to play for and reasons to stay very optimistic."