Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday September 19 2009
After the midweek trip to Sofia, Fulham get back to the, all important, bread and butter of the Premier League with a Sunday afternoon fixture against recently promoted Wolves.
On the eve of the fixture, Roy Hodgson has spoken out about the fact that Brede Hangeland looks set to prolong his Fulham career after a summer that left us all a little nervy with all the transfer speculation, remarking
'During the transfer window Hangeland's agent put discussions over the deal on hold to see if he could find a club that would pay him a lot more money.'
'But now the agent is anxious to start the talks up again. We hope he will sign a new contract, he's happy here and has never shown any real signs of wanting to leave."
'But like all players he'd like to be rewarded for the work he's done with a new contract and we're in line with him. I'd like to think it's imminent.'
Fingers crossed everyone!
Mick McCarthy looks set to welcome back a host of players from injury (just our luck) in the shape of Michael Kightly, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Kevin Foley and Jody Craddock.
Also hoping for a start will be the tall Australian striker Stefan Maierhofer who scored, after coming on as a substitute last weekend.,
The tabloids are tipping Wolves to start as follows:-
Hennessey, Foley, Berra, Mancienne, Hill, Halford, Henry, Jarvis, Milijas, Maierhofer, Doyle.
In his first season in the Premier League he scored almost at will but the goals dried up as Reading struggled and many were surprised he commanded such a large fee when Wolves signed him in the summer. Is he class or was it just a hot run of form?
It`s a sure fire thing that the side Roy picks to play at Molineux will bear little resemblance to the eleven that snatched a draw in Sofia. Likely to come into the starting eleven are the majority of those who missed the trip through injury - Dempsey, Murphy, Duff and Schwarzer.
However, Paul Konchesky is more than likely to miss the encounter with a knee injury. We expect Stephen Kelly to deputise in a starting eleven that will not be too far adrift of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly, Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Duff, Zamora, A.Johnson
It`ll be interesting to see how Kelly adapts to life in the Premier League. On Thursday he played at left back, even though he`s right footed, but the quality of the opposition hardly tested him.
There are a few interesting statistics t contemplate ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash, statistics that could set you thinking.
With Fulham noted (in previous seasons) as poor travelers, well at least until March / April - is this the perfect opportunity to grab a rare away win seeing as Wolves have yet to win at home since being promoted?
Although Fulham currently have the distinction as being the side with the fewest shots on target this season, a miserly eleven, is the fact that Wolves have only kept one clean sheet in their last eleven matches an indication that we could benefit from a rare shot on target even though we`ve not scored in thirteen of our last twenty away matches in the Premier League?
Are we in apposition to bury a hoodoo whereby we`ve not beaten Wolves, on their patch, since a 4-0 win in 1985?
Kevin Friend is the man in the middle orchestrating affairs.
After our previous Europa League triumphs we`ve produced a couple of Premier League tragedy`s. Poor displays against both Chelsea and Aston Villa convinced many that the Europa League could be the hindrance we feared. But, after making nine changes for the trip to Sofia the majority of our first choice eleven should be fit and with Wolverhampton Wanderers hardly being a fearsome side to face, I`m taking us to get our second away win in the Premier League this season by 2-0.
With the Carling Cup set to take centre stage in midweek, Fulham make the difficult trip to play cash-laden Manchester City on there own patch. Anyone else get the feeling it could be a tie whereby both sides play their fringe players? So whose will be the best, ours or theirs?
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Date:Saturday September 19 2009
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