Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday February 13 2009
Fulham travel to South Wales tomorrow (Saturday) to take on a buoyant Swansea side in the FA Cup fifth round tie. For the winners a place in the quarter-finals awaits.
Swansea City will provide dangerous opposition, their young manager, Roberto Martinez is gaining a reputation as one for the future. On the eve of the fixture, Leon Britton, of Swansea, has revealed a cunning motivational plan used by Martinez,
"The best player in training and on the pitch gets a point - and the player with the most at the end of the season gets two tickets to the Champions League Final."
"It`s a great incentive, something a bit different to keep everything at the club a bit lively."
We`d churlishly suggest it`s another cynical ploy to lower the numbers of fans who support the finalists from seeing the action live! Not that we`d ever be in contention, well not just yet perhaps.
Roberto Martinez will have to make do without his striker Gorka Pintado but welcomes back his defender Angel Rangel after a one game suspension.
The Swansea boss will also be hoping that his keeper doesn`t pick up an injury as reserve cover is limited to the teenager, David Cornell.
Up front, Jason Scotland is the current Swansea top scorer
A striker who has bagged sixteen goals this season and a striker that could trouble our defence.
Roy Hodgson goes into the fixture with a decision to make. Dickson Etuhu is unlikely to have recovered from the twisted ankle sustained at Wigan last Saturday. Therefore does he go with Olivier Dacourt or does he go with a reshuffle.
Elsewhere, we don`t foresee any changes, Roy may have tinkered with his side in earlier rounds but we`re now at the cut and thrust stages of the competition and glory does beckon.
Hopefully Aaron Hughes will recover form a dead leg he`s been suffering from.
Therefore, we reckon it`ll be a familiar eleven that starts, possibly,
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Dacourt, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.
This could be his first start, let`s see what he can do alongside Danny Murphy in our midfield.
Fulham will make history on Saturday by becoming the first Premier League side to play an FA Cup tie at the Liberty Stadium.
Previously, the clubs have only met once in this competition before with Fulham winning 7-0 in November 1995
This promises to be a real humdinger of a cup tie. Roberto Martinez has got Swansea playing really well and they`re an outside possibility for a play-off place. At home they are formidable and we all know just how poor our away form is this season. But, we have had success in the FA Cup away from home this season, albeit at Kettering and Sheffield Wednesday. If we are going to be in the hat for the quarter-final draw then we`re going to have to play as well as we have this season. But saying that, I have this strange feeling this could be our year in the FA Cup, therefore I`m going for a 1-0 win, with Zamora getting the winner.
After our FA Cup jaunt to South Wales we face the bottom club in the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion, at Craven Cottage!
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Date:Friday February 13 2009
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