West Ham's Gabbidon and Collins bring delight to Toshack and Wales

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The Independent Football

John Toshack believes that the emergence of Danny Gabbidon and James Collins as a reliable defensive pairing at West Ham must represent good news for Wales.

The Wales coach has seen Gabbidon and Collins emerge as key figures in West Ham's advance to the FA Cup final, where they will come up against his former club Liverpool. Another of Toshack's leading players could be on duty at the Millennium Stadium on 13 May, with Carl Fletcher a likely replacement for the suspended Hayden Mullins.

After naming his squad for friendlies against a Basque Country XI in Bilbao on 20 May and Trinidad and Tobago in Graz, Austria, on 27 May, Toshack said he needs to see his players gaining the sort of experience cup finals bring as he plans for the future.

"Gabbidon has had a very successful season and I know West Ham are very pleased with him," Toshack said. "Collins has been in and out of the side and at the beginning of the season did not get the games he wanted, through niggly injuries. But since the turn of the year he has had a run and West Ham are playing him and are happy with him now.

For the former Cardiff pair, this has been their first season in the Barclays Premiership and Toshack added: "To see my two defenders performing together so well in the Premiership is a real boost for Wales. I am so pleased they have done well and can look forward to playing alongside each other in the final."

Toshack is without four key players for the two friendlies. Mark Delaney and Robert Page are having knee operations, Wrexham's Mark Jones also has a cartilage problem, while the Wolves defender Rob Edwards is out for six weeks with a broken foot.

Toshack is hoping Swansea disrupt his plans for the two international matches. He has selected Sam Ricketts and uncapped Owain Tudur Jones, however Swansea, who Toshack managed with distinction from 1978 to 1983, are hoping for promotion through the League One play-offs.

Should the Swans secure a top-six berth on the final day of the season, they will be jostling for a place in the May 27 play-off final.

That would rule both out of Wales contention, but Toshack said: "Because of my attachment to Swansea, I really want them to mess up my plans for the national team by qualifying for the play-off final."

Tudur Jones is uncapped, as are goalkeepers Jason Brown (Gillingham) and Glyn Garner (Leyton Orient) who are both in the squad. Sunderland's Danny Collins, just relegated from the Premiership, has asked not to be considered, but Ryan Giggs will play in his first away Wales friendly.

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