CHRIS Baird has returned to Fulham on loan for the rest of the season after falling out of favour at Derby County.
The versatile Northern Ireland international is back at Craven Cottage, where he spent six years before leaving in the summer of 2013.
He had spells at Reading, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion before signing for Derby on a two-year deal last June, becoming the club’s new captain.
But the 33-year-old has made just 13 appearances in an injury-ravaged campaign and the skipper’s armband was handed back to Richard Keogh earlier this month following the dismissal of head coach Paul Clement.
The former Southampton academy graduate left St Mary’s for west London in 2007 and scored four goals in 165 appearances for the Cottagers.
Baird occupied a number of positions in defence and midfield and played a key role as Fulham finished seventh in the Premier League in 2009 and reached the Uefa Europa League Final in 2010 under the current England boss Roy Hodgson.
He told the club’s official website: “When the opportunity arose I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to come and be part of this again.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans again. They were fantastic to me over the six years that I was here previously.”
Baird also has 74 caps for his country since making his senior international debut in a 2-0- defeat by Italy in 2003 and could be involved in Martin O’Neill’s squad for Euro 2016 having played a part in the qualification campaign.
Fulham sit 19th in the SkyBet Championship, six points above the bottom three, heading into Saturday’s London derby at home to second-bottom Charlton Athletic.