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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 17:58 UK

Gabbidon issues warning to Russia

World Cup 2010 qualifier Group Four - Wales v Russia
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Wednesday, 9 September KO: 1945 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales & online and BBC Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates online and score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Live on Sky Sports Extra

Gabbidon boosted by Wales rookies

Danny Gabbidon has told his Welsh team-mates to not worry about Russia's stars as the Russians should be wary of Wales in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier.

The West Ham United centre-back is confident that Wales can contradict their 61 place difference in the world rankings in the Cardiff clash.

Gabbidon said: "You can talk about Russia's world-class players but we're at home its about what we can do.

"We should take the game to Russia and let's see how they handle our attack."

Wales are ranked 67th in the world while European 2008 semi-finalists Russia are sixth and desperate for a Millennium Stadium victory, as Guus Hiddink's men are only a point behind Group Four leaders Germany on the road to the 2010 World Cup place.

John Toshack's team cannot qualify for the showpiece in South Africa but a makeshift Wales almost shocked the Russians in Moscow earlier in the campaign - losing to a late Pavel Pogrebnyak penalty - so Gabbidon says his reinforced team should have no fear.

The 30-year-old partners James Collins and Ashley Williams in a strong defence while captain and attacking talisman Craig Bellamy will also play.

James Collins
Arshavin is one of the main dangers but we can't concentrate on him as other players will crop up all over the pitch so we can't just keep our eyes on him.

Wales centre-back James Collins

Gabbidon told BBC Sport: "We did really well over there so they will have to be wary of us as much as we've got to be wary of them.

"They are a very good team but we're confident and there is no reason why we should be overawed by them."

Russia captain and Arsenal playmaker Andrey Arshavin is their main creative threat while Chelsea's new £18m winger Yuri Zhirkov is another superstar - although both are fitness doubts.

Gabbidon and Collins are set to play their first competitive Wales game together for almost two years.

Toshack hailed the pair as Wales' "nerve centre" but they have not played alongside each other for their country since Wales' goalless draw in Germany in November 2007.

Gabbidon and Collins were partners again in Wales' recent friendly defeat in Montenegro - now Collins has warned his team the dangers of targeting just Arshavin.

"It will be a tough game against one of the best teams in Europe," said the Aston Villa new boy.

"So everyone must perform on the night. Arshavin is one of the main dangers but we can't concentrate on him as other players will crop up all over the pitch so we can't just keep our eyes on him.

"I'm determined to play well as I'm due a good game for Wales because I haven't been happy with my recent performances at international level."

Striker Rob Earnshaw added: "Russia are one of the top teams in Europe so we need to up our game.

"It will be a step up but it's always a pleasure as these big games are the games you want to play in. But we'll be ok as we're focused and ready."

Gabbidon played badly in Wales' 2-1 friendly defeat in Montenegro - his first international for 18 months after being out with complex abdominal problems.

"That game came at a good time for me as it showed me I was still well off the pace," said Gabbidon.

"I'd had a good pre-season, which I haven't done for a while, and played three or four games but obviously they weren't competitive as an international.

"It didn't go well in the first-half but I got better as I went on. I'm getting there bit by bit as I've been training every day and everything is coming back to me.

"Now I'm in a good place so hopefully I can stay fit keep training and playing and be available for a whole season. I just need to be patient.

"My game has gone up a couple more of notches and it has to again on Wednesday as we've got a big qualifier - but against Russia I'll be in a better frame mind."

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see also
Wales 1-3 Russia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Toshack's form warning to Ledley
06 Sep 09 |  Cardiff
Koumas announces Wales retirement
06 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Toshack open for Collins return
04 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Arshavin poised for Ramsey clash
07 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Wales U21 2-1 Italy U21
04 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Wales sympathy for young Collison
26 Aug 09 |  West Ham
Wales back out-of-touch Gabbidon
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
I feared for my career - Gabbidon
05 Jul 09 |  West Ham
Russia 2-1 Wales
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales

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