Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Tuesday March 10 2009
After the disappointment of our FA Cup exit, at the hands of Manchester United, it`s a return to Premier League action this Wednesday with the visit of Blackburn Rovers. Can Fulham get back to winning ways at Craven Cottage or has the fortress tag been cast off for good?
Sitting so high in the Premier League table it`s difficult to imagine us being drawn into a relegation battle, but the points difference between safety and disaster isn`t that much.
Therefore Roy Hodgson is probably right to discuss getting sufficient points to stave off the threat of relegation, permanently, in his pre-match press conference, when he remarked,
"We have 11 games to play and I'm hopeful that, in those 11 games, we'll get enough points to stay up."
'The league will occupy our attention and we have to pick ourselves up after losing and get ourselves ready for Blackburn.'
Roy Hodgson, after two losses at home in consecutive matches, may be tempted to ring the changes. Two players not in contention though are Giles Barnes and Chris Baird. Will Roy make changes? We doubt it very much.
We expect Roy to go with the majority of the eleven he trusts in these days with the starting eleven resembling the normal one of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Zamora, Johnson
Recently the striker promised he wouldn`t get into another barren spell with regards to goal scoring, but after two games whereby the team hasn`t scored the focus is beginning to switch to who could provide the goals from the bench. Bobby, do your stuff.
Sam Allardyce stepped into the ill-fated shoes of Paul Ince and has struggled to drag the Ewood Park outfit of the relegation struggle. Matters are not helped by the fact that he`s struggling on the injury front with Paul Robinson, Jason Brown and possibly Roque Santa Cruz all out. But he`s likely to welcome back Morten Gamst Pedersen after serving a suspension.
Blackburn (from): Robinson, Brown, Bunn, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Samba, Simpson, Warnock, Givet, Olsson, Villanueva, Tugay, Andrews, Diouf, Treacy, Mokoena, Haworth, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Roberts, Pedersen.
A rejuvenated striker this season, he`ll present a threat to us.
As far as the record books show, games between Fulham and Blackburn in the Premier League, on home turf, show that Fulham have won two, Blackburn three with two draws.
As far as all League games on our patch go, Fulham have won 14 times, Blackburn 8 times with 13 draws.
The corresponding fixture up at Ewood Park ended 1-0 to Blackburn with Matt Derbyshire scoring an 84th minute winner.
Rob Styles of Waterlooville, in Hampshire, will be the man in charge.
After two home defeats it`s time to get the season back on track. Blackburn, under Sam Allardyce, will be a tough challenge but one which I believe Roy Hodgson`s team will rise to and win by the odd goal.
Fulham travel to the Reebok to take on a Gary Megson managed Bolton side this Saturday
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Date:Tuesday March 10 2009
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