Writer: Kristian Balkin
Date:Tuesday August 17 2010
I can't say I was shocked when the final whistle blew at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday and we applauded yet another 0-0 draw.
A point, of course, is not a bad return from a strong Bolton side by any stretch of the imagination, yet, the journey home smelt fondly of continuity and the need for an upturn in our form away from the Cottage was never resolved.
Hope still stands, however, that the appointment of Mark Hughes will spark more positive results from our away days, and, as much as a bore draw up North may seem to dispel those dreams, a deeper look offers a more upbeat outlook.
Roy Hodgson was an organisational expert. Given half the chance, I'm sure he would have jumped at the opportunity to snatch a point from every away Premier League game we played last term. Whilst it was a foolproof plan that did help is climb the league, be it slowly, it never really provided the Fulham faithful the buzz that is needed to boost our numbers.
We are, it seems, a club that is renowned for a poor away contingent, as much as I despise to say it.
Lots of factors come into this of course, but I'm sure the expectancy of a drab draw or a less-than-entertaining defeat play a part in the decision of watching Match of the Day or taking in the real thing.
Déjà vu may well have kicked in with regards to the result, but snippets of the game, such as the attacking threat we posed in the closing 10 minutes, have hopefully proven that Hughes is more than willing to take a risk on his travels and reward what was, as I felt, quite a healthy following in Lancashire.
He gladly withheld the integrity at the back which helped guide us to a Europa League final only 3 months ago, but Sparky clearly encouraged a more fluid attacking game from the boys.
Whilst no reward came in the final third, given a couple of signings (and some easier teams to break down) we could well be on for a decent year with regards to playing away from the banks of the Thames.
Here's to Mark Hughes and here's to a good year to come!
Date:Tuesday August 17 2010
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