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Fulham v Shakhtar Donetsk Preview!

Fulham v Shakhtar Donetsk Preview!

Our Europa League campaign continues this Thursday with a tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, it`s a fixture that could prove to be, by far, our most difficult in Europe this season.

Shakhtar are the reigning UEFA Cup holders and will be keen to grace the latter stages of the competition this year, besides, if our squad can pull off a remarkable win, over two legs, then the prospect of facing the winners of Ajax v Juventus, next round, looks just as formidable.

With Fulham going so well on the domestic front, namely surging away from any possible dalliance with relegation and progressing to the FA Cup quarter-finals, our participation in the Europa League has tended to slip off the radar. In fact, I`d say it`s the lowest of our priorities now! I`m eve at a loss to recall exactly what suspensions we have outstanding after that somewhat comical encounter with AS Roma in Rome.

What we do know though is that Stefano Okaka, after playing for AS Roma against us; is illegible and Roy Hodgson will be without long term injury victims John Pantsil, Andrew Johnson and Clint Dempsey. Rumours persist that Paul Konchesky and Zoltan Gera are approaching the rehabilitation stage whereby they may well be considered for squad selection. One man definitely looking forward to taking part though will be Simon Davies who has finally seen his season get underway after some awkward injury problems.

With an important Premier League game coming up against Birmingham City this Sunday, it`s difficult to predict the starting eleven that Roy Hodgson will go for, will he include some fringe players like Bjorn Helge Riise, the United bound Chris Smalling, Jonathan Greening and Erik Nevland or will the big guns be rolled out knowing a home defeat would leave us with a nothing tie in the second leg. Sticking our heads above the proverbial parapet and purely to see just how right or wrong we are, we`re going for the following starting eleven:-

Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly, Duff, Murphy, Greening, Gera, Zamora, Elm

As for a result, let`s just say that I`ll be happy if we can keep the second leg meaningful! It`ll be a waste of everybody`s time to traipse all that way for a meaningless second leg, would it not?

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Andrew Joyce
Date:Wednesday February 17 2010
Time: 4:45PM


Couldn't blame Roy if he left Zamora on the bench. In fact, I think I might prefer it. We still have a long run ahead of in the League and FA Cup, so I really don't want to take any chances with Bobby's health. Maybe Elm and Nevland will be sufficient.
17/02/2010 17:33:00
just play bobby for the first half mix and match me thinks
truth sayer ffc
17/02/2010 20:33:00
Not sure how I feel about this one. Shakhtar are clearly a very good team, having won this competition last season. However, they have not played for a while and we have clearly faced stronger teams, such as Man Utd and Chelsea. Perhaps I'm feeling a little apathetic towards this one, don't get me wrong, I'll be there cheering us on, but I'm more excited about FA Cup progression!
17/02/2010 20:37:00
spurs fan here. we played these guys same time last year and although we did lose 3-1 on agg (1-1 at home) we played our 2nd string team due to our problems in the league. we were even the better side in both games but it was mainly due to the fact that they haven't played a proper game since december and this is where your big chance is. they are far from ready and are there for the taking. they have a s.h.i.t load of classy brazilians and the right back srna is a real danger man down the wing and from set pieces. good luck lads. 2-0 win for you is my prediction.
dwight schrute
17/02/2010 23:08:00
i'll go for a 2-0 win... why no shorey, he's surely not cup tied... i'd go for shorey over kelly, as konch in back in training and will be back soon... a strong defence is very important to limit away goals... elm and nevland would lack bite, so i'd like to see zamora... if we can steal a win at the cottage, we should try... home win for me!
18/02/2010 13:39:00
shorey isn't registered to play in the europa league, so that is why kelly will probably be playing
18/02/2010 15:56:00
you got your wish putney! it's still very interesting!
Al Billy
19/02/2010 19:28:00
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