MARK Hughes has given his strongest hint yet that Panteg-born Daniel Gabbidon (pictured) will be rewarded with his first Welsh cap against the Czech Republic in Cardiff tonight (7.15pm).

The Cwmbran-raised 22-year-old Cardiff City defender beamed: "It would make my family and my friends so proud of me.

"It's all I have been thinking about lately, will I play or not? "Just a few minutes on the pitch will be enough for me, but to be involved is just great. "I'll just keep my fingers crossed. I think I've done fairly well and been consistent at Cardiff this season. I have been pleased with my form and that is what has got me here."

Wales boss Hughes said: "Danny is a player who has being involved in a few squads and every time he seems more comfortable in these surroundings "I hope to give him a taste at some stage of the game."

There was a suggestion that Gabbidon, who signed for the Bluebirds from West Bromwich Albion two seasons ago, may start in the Millennium Stadium friendly this evening - but that seems unlikely as Hughes will probably stick with playing Robert Page alongside captain Andy Melville, who makes his 50th appearance tonight.

"It's still a bit strange been surrounded by these great players," admitted Gabbidon. "But I have to keep telling myself I'm here on merit.

"It only seems like yesterday when I was playing for Cwmbran Town youth team. It has all happened so quickly.

"I do have to pinch myself sometimes to check if this is really happening to me. "I would mean the world to me if I was to get a chance tonight. It is everyone's dream is to play for your country and if I had a Welsh cap that could never be taken away from me. "It would be a highlight of my career, then I would hope I could follow that up with a promotion with Cardiff and get into Division One."

Gabbidon said his City team-mate Robert Earnshaw, who has a hamstring injury, was "gutted" to be missing, especially because the pint-sized striker might have been in with a good shout of an appearance.

Two of Gabbidon's Cardiff team-mates, Scott Young and Rhys Weston, have been called up to the Welsh squad along with Brentford midfielder Paul Evans and Coventry City striker Paul Trollope as Hughes' squad has been decimated by 11 players withdrawing.