Gabbidon. Who's he?

Last updated : 17 May 2003 By Michael Morris

HE is rated in the £5m bracket, marked Alessandro Del Piero out of a Euro 2004 qualifier and has been linked to Premiership giants Tottenham - but Danny Gabbidon is a bit of a mystery man to Queens Park Rangers.

In fact hit-man Paul Furlong, whose goal fired QPR into the final play-off showdown with Cardiff City, admits he knows next to nothing about the Bluebirds' star defender!

The QPR striker is expected to go head-to-head with City's Wales international centre-back in the Division Two final at the Millennium Stadium.

But when asked how he felt about the prospect of being marked by Gabbidon, the former Chelsea player replied, "I don't know anything about him.

"I haven't played against him this season and I didn't see the Bristol City-Cardiff game on the television.

"Apparently it wasn't a very good game, was it?"

Gabbidon is currently the toast of Ninian Park after his flawless defensive display on Tuesday at Ashton Gate.

QPR manager Ian Holloway described his performance as "absolute superb", whilst in its player ratings The Western Mail gave Gabbidon 10 out of 10.

But the striker who fired the QPR winner over Oldham that booked the London club's place in the May 25 final, explained, "In the two League games against Cardiff this season Gabbidon was not playing because he was injured.

"But I have been told he has done well for Wales and that he has been linked to a few Premiership clubs - so it looks like I am going to have my work cut out!"

Gabbidon missed City's 4-0 win at Loftus Road last November because he was sidelined with a back problem.

He failed to recover in time for the return match at Ninian Park last month which QPR won 2-1.

Meanwhile, City last night won the first big battle with QPR, winning the toss to wear their traditional blue strip.

Lennie Lawrence's men will don their normal shirts and shorts after emerging tops in the toss which was staged at the Football League's HQ at Preston. QPR will switch from blue and white hoops to white.

But the fact City will be wearing their home kit is tempered by the fact that their fans will be sitting in the Millennium Stadium South Stand that was once said to be jinxed.

Teams whose fans were situated in the South Stand traditionally lost at the ground.

The hoodoo was finally broken last May when Stoke became the first team in 12 matches to win at the ground with their fans occupying the South Stand.

City have 33,800 tickets for the final, while QPR have been given 30,800 tickets.

The man who will referee the Cardiff showdown will be announced by the Football League today.