Goal lifts Gabbidon

Danny Gabbidon is pleased to be back on home soil after an extremely successful pre-season so far with West Ham United.

The defender's excellent summer continued with his first 90 minutes since December 2008 in the 2-0 win against Beijing Guoan in the Barclays Asia Trophy last Friday. To cap it off, he scored the team's opening goal.

It came courtesy of a towering header after he ventured up for a corner in the 80th minute. As Mark Noble's cross spiralled into the penalty area, Gabbidon was the quickest to react. The celebrations were fitting for a man who had been out for a year and a half.

"I didn't really see it coming," Gabbidon told whufc.com. "Nobes had whipped in a corner just before and I kind of ran in a bit too early so I thought the second one that comes in I am just going to hang back a bit. It worked out perfectly. I lost my defender and it was great to see it going in.

"I was a bit shocked because I am not usually a goalscorer. It was probably the first time I have been up for a corner since I have been at West Ham. It was nice to score though. It was good for my confidence, especially as I also played a full 90 minutes.

"It has made me feel better about myself but the main thing is the team. It was nice to get a win and finish the trip to China on a winning note. I wasn't expecting to score, as I was more concerned about contributing to the team by helping us keep a clean sheet."

The No4 only returned to full training at the end of last season after a succession of injuries related to an abdominal problem and then played in a friendly game to open the new Cardiff City stadium at the start of July. That was followed by a first run-out for the Hammers in 18 months at Grays Athletic before the trips to Austria and then China.

"It is good to be back at home this week," he added, with the whole squad now focused on the visit of SSC Napoli this Saturday. "It was hectic in Austria and China and there wasn't a lot of time to do anything but train and play but you won't hear us complaining. It is nice for us to get back to see our families though and start thinking about the new season."