Curbishley cheered by international duo

Today provided a long-awaited opportunity for Alan Curbishley to assess his returning internationals at the club's Chadwell Heath training ground and prepare the full squad for Sunday's visit of Sunderland.

"All the boys that played in internationals this week are back in today," said Curbishley. "Dean Ashton will miss out on the Sunderland game as he is still injured. Henri Camara has trained this week so there's a chance he'll be fit. Freddie Ljungberg came off in the warm-up for Sweden, so we'll have to assess him today.

"Craig Bellamy came through his games for Wales and he's full of beans. He's had a similar operation to Michael Owen and a similar comeback. We're looking forward to welcoming him back. The Reading game, where we last really saw him, seems a long time ago."

Mark Noble, who was rested a fortnight ago against Aston Villa, sent out a powerful message to the West Ham United manager this week by scoring a brace for the England Under-21s.

Curbishley explained the decision: "I left Mark Noble out up at Villa," he said. "He's had an amazing 20 games, the last ten of last season and he played through the summer for the Under-21s. I just felt I should give him a break at Villa.

"He's only 20 and I explained to him that being left out isn't fatal. He's stormed back this week and done great for the Under-21s. I was at a supporters' do last night and they were saying he's the highest shirt seller at the club. He's homegrown and the fans have a great affinity with him. He displays all the qualities the fans want to see. He was one of the players that really gave us the impetus to get out of trouble last season and there is plenty more to come from him."