Sol Bamba: Fulham and Rennes set to watch Hibs defender

ENGLISH Premier League outfit Fulham and French club Rennes will deploy spies to Tannadice tomorrow to watch Hibs defender Sol Bamba in action as they weigh up bids for the World Cup-bound star.

Sol Bamba is determined to lead Hibs into Europe by getting a positive result at Tannadice tomorrow - then he can turn his attentions to this summer's World Cup finals. Picture: Dan Phillips

Bamba's performances in a green-and-white shirt this season have not gone unnoticed as he's made himself a regular in an Ivory Coast squad which contains household names such as Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Salomon Kalou.

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Now Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, who has led the London club on a fairytale trip to the Europa League final in which they will face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's final in Hamburg, is believed to be one of a number of managers south of the Border keen to land the 25-year-old.

But they could face stiff competition for the Paris-born ace with offers to return to his homeland likely. Rennes are understood to be showing the strongest interest but Bamba's first club, Paris St Germain, have also been linked with the player, who still has a year of his Hibs contract to run. Reports in France claim Rennes will be represented on Tayside as Hibs bring their season to an end, hoping to beat Scottish Cup finalists Dundee United and clinch fourth place in the SPL table, and Fulham are also expected to have a scout in the stand.

They'll be joined by Ivory Coast manager Sven Goran Eriksson, who will take the opportunity to see Bamba in action before naming his squad for next month's World Cup in South Africa. The Swede had planned to travel to Fir Park in midweek but was told by the player not to bother as he was suspended. However, on hearing Bamba would be free to play tomorrow, the former England boss informed the former Dunfermline star he'd be among the crowd at Tannadice.

Meanwhile, Hibs boss John Hughes revealed he believes his United counterpart Peter Houston will resist the temptation to rest a number of his players before they face First Division Ross County in the Scottish Cup final. Although skipper Andy Webster has been ruled out of tomorrow's match through injury, Hughes feels Houston will field a strong side with those who do play determined to seal their place for the big day out at Hampden next Saturday.

He said: "I think Housty will use tomorrow as a dress rehearsal for the final. All his guys will be playing for their place in the final while it is also their last home game and they'll be determined to go out on a high. Tannadice is a tough place to go at the best of times, it will be a great atmosphere and hopefully we will revel in it.

"If we can finish fourth then hopefully people will look back and say we hae had a good season. We'd all like to win every week, that's not possible, however, and I do think we have improved on last year."