Fulham v CSKA Sofia Preview!
Fulham play their penultimate Europa League group game this Thursday with CSKA Sofia coming to Craven Cottage.
The group is delicately poised and with Fulham having taken only one point out of a possible six in the two clashes with AS Roma, there is a necessity to ensure that a win, this Thursday, gives us a decent chance of travelling to Basel knowing another victory would take us through to the next stage, a stage where those not quite good enough to qualify for the Champions League would join the party.
Unfortunately, any plans Roy Hodgson may have had for the fixture have been derailed big-time. The two red-cards received in Rome and the plethora of injuries we`re suffering from mean that the squad Roy nominated for the competition will be sorely stretched. It`s a point the boss commented on earlier this week when he candidly suggested he might have to pull his boots on and play.
Definitely out suspended are the two-red card victims from that night in Rome, a night we slipped to defeat after taking the lead, Erik Nevland and Paul Konchesky. We also believe Stephen Kelly, who received a red card in the home fixture against AS Roma when conceding the penalty, is also still suspended.
Out injured are Andrew Johnson, Diomansy Kamara and Dickson Etuhu whilst it`s very doubtful that Danny Murphy will be risked as he recovers full fitness after his injury. We`re alos unsure as to whether Bobby Zamora has shook off his recent injury. If we add to that that Pascal Zuberbuhler and Eddie Johnson are not eligible for the squad after not being registered and you can see that Roy will do a job and a half just to get seven substitutes on the bench.
With such a tale of woe the team almost picks itself with us here at Vital Fulham predicting the following eleven will start,
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Duff, Greening, Riise, Gera, Dempsey + Hodgson!
As for a result, let`s just say I`m quietly confident that we`ll win and qualification will go down to the wire.
For those of you unable to get down to craven Cottage for the fixture we`ll remind you that live coverage if the game is on Channel Five!