Writer: Ollie Sheehan
Date:Monday March 13 2006
Papa Bouba Diop has finally completed his international duty, and could be back against Chelsea.
The Senegalese and Fulham midfield linchpin injured himself in Senegal's post African Nations Cup friendly and has had to rest a bit.
But he is just as eager and optimistic as ever as he returns to Craven Cottage after being absent for almost two and a half months of the season.
He could even be on the bench against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon which would be a massive boost to the side who have now lost their last three games, conceding nine goals in the process.
But he never forgot about the club while he was away in Egypt:
"I was always keeping up-to-date with events back home. The internet was a constant source of information for me and of course my friends back in London kept me informed. One of my Senegalese colleagues, Amdy Faye, who also plays for Newcastle told me that the final score in that game was 0-0. But I found out later that he hadn't been telling me the whole truth and that we had won 1-0. When I found out that score-line I made sure I went and made fun of him!"
Diop feels that Coleman has been shrewd in the transfer market during the transfer window. He does not believe for a second that it is a negative development and is pleased for the team.
"Unfortunately Browny got injured against Man United but I heard that he played very well whilst he was on the pitch. I have seen Simon [Elliott] play first hand and I think he has been excellent. He is a tireless worker and has brought a real drive to the midfield. His ability with set pieces as well is very impressive - he has set up a few goals already which is great. Most importantly the signings we have made during January have improved Fulham as a team which, at the end of it all, is most vital."
Diop does accept that with Fulham looking in a position where they are needing to look over their shoulder at the clubs below them that they should not be too ambitious this season. He is clear in his mind about what the club can achieve over the final stage sof the season.
He added: "My hopes for the rest of the season are pretty straight forward - for us as a squad to work as hard as we can between now and the end. We want to continue our strong home performances, whilst also improving our away record and picking up as many points as we can so we can keep pushing up the League."
Date:Monday March 13 2006
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