James Collins got a welcome 90 minutes under his belt this weekend although was on the losing side as Wales lost 2-0 to Finland a vital FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Collins was making his first competitive appearance since suffering a hamstring early in the 2-1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers on 21 February. He had not figured since for West Ham United but was deemed fit enough for selection for this week's internationals, which will conclude for Wales with Wednesday night's trip visit of Germany.
On Saturday, Jonatan Johansson and Shefki Kuqi scored at the end of each half respectively to consign Wales to defeat at the Millennium Stadium. The loss has severely damaged Welsh hopes of reaching next summer's finals in South Africa. Germany and Russia are the runaway leaders at the top of Group 4 with only the team finishing in first space guaranteed a qualification place. Finland move into third.
Although he has suffered national-team disappointment, Collins' fitness will be a big boost for Gianfranco Zola who will have a selection headache to ponder for next weekend's visit of Sunderland to the Boleyn Ground. James Tomkins has performed admirably in Collins' absence while Lucas Neill - himself on World Cup duty with Australia on Wednesday - has also impressed in a central position.