Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday March 13 2009
Fulham travel to the Reebok Stadium this weekend to take on Bolton Wanderers. After three successive defeats Roy Hodgson will be keen to halt the slump. But, considering our dire away record in the Premier League this season, a win would require ending something that resembles a hoodoo. Are Fulham capable of stopping the rot with a resounding victory over Gary Megson`s side, or will it be more away day misery?
From every Fulham fan,
"Come on lads, let`s get that first away win and put three more points on the board."
A bit like Roy Hodgson, Gary Megson has a relatively full squad to choose from for this fixture. Only Joey O`Brien is missing through long term injury.
Surprised me when he left Portsmouth but Bolton got a real bargain and he`s capable of scoring some spectacular long range goals, if you let him.
Fulham travel to the Reebok with concerns over the fitness of Aaron Hughes, the Northern Ireland defender picked up a rib muscle injury in midweek and his participation this weekend is in major doubt. With Chris Baird also missing in midweek, Hodgson may turn to Tony Kallio to fill the breach. Thankfully, Bobby Zamora, after missing the game against Blackburn with a hip injury should be available for selection.
The three defeats, inside ten days, have given cause for concern and the size of our squad has been questioned with doubts expressed about the strength in depth. For this reason, it`s unlikely that wholesale changes will be made for the Bolton fixture.
In fact, we can`t see Roy veering away from the tried and trusted, therefore, expect a stating eleven of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Kallio, Hangleand, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Zamora and Johnson.
In inspired form in recent matches, we`ll need the Aussie to be in top form if we`re to come back from the north-west with any reward for our hard graft.
In previous Premier League encounters between the two sides on Bolton turf, the home side has the edge with 3 wins to our 1 with 3 draws.
In all league encounters, on their turf, they lead by 18 to 7 with 9 drawn!
Last season the teams battled out a dull 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture.
Taking charge will be Chris Foy.
After three home defeats on the bounce, all at home, my confidence has been knocked. Throw into the melting pot the fact that we`ve not won away from home in the Premier League all season and that goals have been scarce, to say the least, it`s hard to see how we can get maximum points form this game. But maximum points are what we need, especially with games against Manchester United and Arsenal on the horizon. Unfortunately, however much my heart says three points for Fulham my head tells me otherwise, therefore, I`ll sit on the fence and go for a score draw, probably low-scoring!
Easy the next fixture it`s a chance to get revenge for our recent 3-0 and 4-0 drubbings by Manchester United. Fergie`s 'Red Army` returns to Craven Cottage for a Premier League fixture. (Let`s hope there`s not a pattern developing in those score lines!)
Date:Friday March 13 2009
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