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Sheff Wed v Fulham Preview

Sheff Wed




Fulham make the long journey up the M1 to take on Sheffield Wednesday in a 3rd round FA Cup tie. The fixture gives the club the chance to take a breather from Premier League action and concentrate on a cup run the supporters yearn for, especially after exiting in the third round in the two previous seasons. You never know we might even have that first away win of the season coming up!

Vital Quotes:

With our league form so much better than this time last year, it makes a welcome change to be able to look forward to a cup tie without the spectre of a relegation battle haunting us.

It would seem the players feel the same way with veteran keeper, Mark Schwarzer commenting,

'We saw the final last year between Portsmouth and Cardiff City and I don't think anyone would have put money on that so it's open for everyone. We need to continue our form."

'We are taking the FA Cup very seriously as it gives you the chance to qualify for Europe and win a trophy."

Up for the Cup Final for the first time since 1975 anyone!

Sheff Wed Team News:

Sheffield Wednesday, managed by Brian Laws, have been given permission by his parent clubs, to field loan player Lewis Buxton. He`s also hoping to welcome back Jermaine Johnson and Leon Clarke to his squad after both appear to have recovered from injury.

Amongst the playing staff at Hillsborough are several players with Premier League experience - Steve Watson, Francis Jeffers, Leon Burton, Lee Grant - all of whom will be looking to test Fulham.

Player to watch: Steve Watson

Approaching the veteran stage of his career now but still a good defender who`ll be looking to nullify the threat posed by Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora.

Fulham Team News:

Roy Hodgson will be anxiously awaiting the results of a fitness test on Jimmy Bullard. The influential midfielder missed the match against Chelsea, last Sunday, after picking up a dead-leg at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day. If Bullard isn`t 100% fit Dickson Etuhu will again deputise.

It`ll be interesting to see if Roy takes this opportunity to give some of the fringe players a start. Here at Vital Fulham we`d suggest he didn`t. We`re desperate for a good run in the FA Cup and with a week between the cup tie and the next Premier League match, we feel he should field his strongest eleven.

Therefore, take heed Roy and go for something like this:

Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Bullard (or Etuhu), Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.

Player to watch: Clint Dempsey

His recent goal scoring rush, including two goals against near-neighbours Chelsea last Sunday, has seen the popular American jump to the top of the Fulham scoring charts for this season. His ability in the air, especially from set pieces, could be a deciding factor in this tie.

Match Facts & Stats

The pairing of the two clubs in this cup fixture is the fourth time it has happened, the history books show that Sheffield Wednesday currently have the statistical edge, leading by two wins to one.

If we look at meetings in all competitions though, the odds favour our hosts. It`s a massive 35 years since we last won at Hillsborough and our last victory over the Owls was a 1-0 win at the Cottage in November 1982.

Ref Watch:

Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Match Prediction:

With Fulham having such an alarming record on the road, two goals and no wins, it doesn`t need a scientist to work out that to progress at the first opportunity, we`ll need to register that first away win of the season. But, the record doesn`t show the full story. Our last four away trips have seen us keep a clean sheet against very creditable opposition, whether Sheffield Wednesday are worthy of being quoted in that same bracket is debatable. Therefore, with the wide spaces that Hillsborough brings we predict our midfield, orchestrated by Murphy, will provide the searching balls for Johnson and Zamora to give us that away win and if they`re not up to the task we`re sure Clint Dempsey wouldn`t mind chipping in with a goal. We`ll go for 2-0 to Fulham.

Next Fixtures:

Our nest fixture sees us return to Craven Cottage to take on Sam Allardyce and Blackburn Rovers, a fixture that, on present form, we should win.

Writer:Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday January 2 2009
Time: 11:26AM

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I would like to see us get the Goal glut that is long overdue. 4-0 to the Whites.
02/01/2009 11:48:00
it wouldn't surprise me to see us line up = Zuberbuhler, Stoor, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Andreasen, Etuhu, Dempsey, Zamora and Nevland!
Al Billy
02/01/2009 13:43:00
We've only conceded 7 at home in 13 league matches, if you try and take the mick by playing fringe players you'll get a run for your money. Having said that, if you plat your best XI I don't think we've got much of a chance.
north stand owl
02/01/2009 17:09:00
That's a fair assessment "north stand owl" but goodness knows what ambition Roy has in this comp, or how much of a chance he will take with fringe players. My guess is that there will be at least three, and you might be near the mark Al Billy.
02/01/2009 17:43:00
Roy will play a strong side - I feel he leanrt his lesson the hard way at Burnley
02/01/2009 19:05:00
I reckon it'll be something like... Schwarzer, Stoor, Hangeland, Baird, Konchesky, Davies, Andreasen, Etuhu, Dempsey, Nevland and Johnson I have this funny feeling Baird will definitly be in the team this weekend. He replaces such an integral part of the team, he needs more game time than any other bench player. I can also see Hodgson maybe playing AJ up front to try to get him 2-3 goals under his belt
03/01/2009 01:47:00
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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Newcastle 46 29 7 10 94 45
P Brighton 46 28 9 9 93 34
3 Reading 46 26 7 13 85 4
4 Sheff Wed 46 24 9 13 81 15
5 Huddersfield 46 25 6 15 81 -2
6 Fulham 46 22 14 10 80 28
7 Leeds Utd 46 22 9 15 75 14
8 Norwich 46 20 10 16 70 16
9 Derby County 46 18 13 15 67 4
10 Brentford 46 18 10 18 64 10
11 Preston 46 16 14 16 62 1
12 Cardiff 46 17 11 18 62 -1
13 Aston Villa 46 16 14 16 62 -1
14 Barnsley 46 15 13 18 58 -3
15 Wolves 46 16 10 20 58 -4
16 Ipswich 46 13 16 17 55 -10
17 Bristol City 46 15 9 22 54 -6
18 Q.P.R. 46 15 8 23 53 -14
19 Birmingham 46 13 14 19 53 -19
20 Burton 46 13 13 20 52 -14
21 Forest 46 14 9 23 51 -10
R Blackburn 46 12 15 19 51 -12
R Wigan 46 10 12 24 42 -17
R Rotherham 46 5 8 33 23 -58
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