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Welcome Back to Fulham, Chris Baird

A hero of the Europa League run returns to Craven Cottage

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Fulham today announced the return of Chris Baird on an emergency loan from Derby County for the remainder of the season.  Baird has fallen out of favor at the iPro Stadium following the sacking of manager Paul Clement and will re-join the Cottagers with hopes of bolstering his chances of representing Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

According to Squawka, the 33-year-old has made 14 appearances this season, though most of his recent appearances have been as a substitute. The utility player will bolster a Fulham defense that has been vulnerable - to say the least - this season, and the substantial work that remains was clear for all to see at Blackburn on Tuesday night. Regardless of whether he earns a starting role, his versatility, leadership, and experience arrive at an important time for the club.

Baird originally joined Fulham from Southampton back in 2007 at time when Fulham were struggling under Lawrie Sanchez. As part of the famous Roy Hodgson squad, however, he is one of the heroes of the Europa League Final run in 2010 but was released by the club following the 2012-2013 campaign. Baird joined Derby County after spells with Reading and West Brom.

While he is past his prime, Baird offers Fulham another option in defense or in midfield should needs dictate. Having an experienced defender with Premiership experience can only help in light of the defensive frailties that have plagued successive managers at Craven Cottage.

Welcome back, Chris Baird. Here's hoping you can teach the squad a little something about defending.