Hartson reveals club concern
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
John Hartson says he had to give priority to West Brom after missing out for Wales.
John Hartson has explained he had to give priority to West Brom after missing out on an international recall with Wales for Wednesday's game against Cyprus.
The much-travelled striker had been pencilled in to lead the line with Craig Bellamy after the disappointing 5-1 defeat to Slovakia at the weekend, but an ankle injury meant he was unable to join John Toshack's squad.
Hartson has not played for his country since initially retiring from international football in February, and the 31-year-old says he must consider his club's interests first after his summer move to The Hawthorns.
The former Celtic star has only played 45 minutes in a 4-2 win over Leeds United in the past few weeks, aside from an appearance in the reserves on Monday night, and is keen to impress at The Baggies before reigniting his international ambitions.
"The Wales game came too soon for me and I have to think about West Brom as they are my priority," Hartson told the Western Mail.
"It wouldn't be fair to Wales or me if I turned up right now.
"I had spoken to John Toshack about joining up with the squad but I told him my fitness wasn't great and he understood.
"I have only played 45 minutes in the last four weeks and I have had this problem since pre-season.
"I have had an injection in my ankle and it still isn't right, but it is getting better.
"I wanted to build my fitness and that is why I chose to play for the reserves.
"I love playing for Wales and I would have done if I was fit."
Meanwhile, Wales defender Danny Gabbidon has voiced his resolve to seek revenge against Cyprus on Wednesday night, with the West Ham stopper still smarting from last November's 1-0 defeat in Limassol.
"The Cyprus loss hurt, it was a total disaster," said Gabbidon.
"It would just be nice to get one over them after that, and we do now need the points.
"It's tough for me to lift myself, let alone help the youngsters after the disappointment against Slovakia.
"But we have to encourage them, they are going to play a lot more games for Wales."