Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Tuesday November 24 2009
After the defeat at St Andrews, last Saturday, Roy Hodgson has the perfect opportunity to erase those memories with a fixture against Blackburn Rovers. The fixture also pits Roy against a club he managed and also gives Damien Duff the chance to play against a former club.
It`ll be strange to take on Blackburn with Sam Allardyce absent. The larger than life character, as you probably know, is awaiting heart surgery and we wish him well.
But Sam doesn`t believe it`ll be too long before he`s back on the scene commenting,
"I`m optimistic I`ll be back to work soon."
We hope you are back in the groove soon Sam, you are one of football`s characters.
With Simon Davies having made his Premier League comeback on Saturday, against Birmingham, Roy Hodgson is hopeful that Danny Murphy and Andrew Johnson will be available for this fixture. Both have participated in full training sessions without suffering any adverse effects although both may have to be content with a place on the bench with Roy keen to make sure they`re not brought back too soon.
Erik Nevland was a late withdrawal on Saturday, through illness and may well have recovered sufficiently to be named in the squad. John Panstil didn`t start on Saturday but may well return for this fixture in place of Stephen Kelly.
Rested, initially, on Saturday, but came on and showed that he can be the one to open up defences. Playing against a former club might just provide an additional spark for the Irishman to produce his best performance of the season.
Neil McDonald, standing in for Sam Allardyce, has relatively few injury worries with only Gael Givet likely to be missing courtesy of a thigh knock picked up against Bolton. Rumour has it that one of the following three will step into the vacated position - Lars Jacobsen, Martin Olsson or Michel Salgado.
Is currently in the best form of his Blackburn career. The suggestion being that Fabio Capello should take a look at this lad before finalising his World Cup squad. Now we`re not sure if he`s that good but his ability to split defences and unhinge opponents makes him a real threat.
Fulham are due a win over Blackburn Rovers. The record books show that the Cottagers have not beaten Rovers in the last six Premier League encounters.
Last season Rovers triumphed 2-1 at Craven Cottage and 1-0 up at Ewood Park.
The man in charge is the youngest official in top-flight football, Mr Stuart Attwell.
Fulham, despite the loss to Birmingham City at the weekend, have been in god form and performances at Craven Cottage have picked up. The 3-1 defeat of Liverpool put a smile on the face of every one and with Blackburn not being particularly good travelers (apart from the weekend win at Bolton) we should be capable of taking the three points on offer. It may be one of those games that opens up later on and I can see both sides getting on the score sheet but I`ll stick my head above the parapet and go for a Fulham win, 2-1 anyone?
Fulham follow this fixture with another home match, this time against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
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Date:Tuesday November 24 2009
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