Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Baird wary of 'on fire' Gunners

Chris Baird

Chris Baird is happy to continue being Fulham's Mr Versatile - although he would prefer not mark former team-mate Theo Walcott this weekend.

The 29-year-old has lined up all across the backline for the Cottagers this season as they juggle Barclays Premier League and Europa League commitments. Baird played in an unfamiliar left-back role during Saturday's 0-0 draw at Sunderland and insists he is happy play wherever he is needed.

"I have (played across the defence) and played as left-back on Saturday," Baird said. "I don't mind where I play as long as I am in the team, playing well. That's the most important thing for me, helping the team, and hopefully that will continue."

Should Baird start at left-back once more against Arsenal on Saturday, he will likely be given the daunting task of shackling former Southampton team-mate Walcott.

The Northern Ireland international played with the 22-year-old during his short but impressive stint in the Saints' first team, which earned Walcott a £12million move to north London.

Asked whether he would relish going toe-to-toe with his former team-mate on Saturday, Baird responded: "No, no, he is very quick.

"Theo was fantastic, even at such a young age (at Southampton). Obviously he was thrown in the team but the more games he played, the more confident he got, scoring a few goals. His pace always caused defenders problems. I am glad he is doing well at Arsenal. He deserves it. He has been fantastic for them this season so it is a hard game for us.

"We will go there with our confidence and see what happens.

"Arsenal are on fire right now. They had a really poor start but they have turned it round massively.

"They have got Robin van Persie banging in the goals for them so we have to be on our game to stop him and Arsenal from getting their result."

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