Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday January 16 2010
After the postponement of the home clash with Portsmouth last Saturday, Fulham travel to Ewood Park to take on a Blackburn side managed by Sam Allardyce.
With Blackburn having played Aston Villa in the first leg of their semi-final just last Thursday, Clint Dempsey believes that the fact that Blackburn are hovering above the drop zone could be an influencing factor as far as the games goes, remarking,
"Hopefully, they will be tired - we need to get as many points as we can away from home."
"There will be pressure on them to get something from their home games because things can change in the league very quickly if you don`t. So they`ll be attacking and we just need to stay strong, be patient and when our chances come, take advantage of them."
Sam Allardyce takes his side into this match without the suspended Diouf and without the injured Grella and Roberts. Rated as doubtful are Givet and Jacobsen.
Blackburn could line up as follows:-
Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Hoilett, Nzonzi, Emerton, Pedersen, Dunn and Di Santo
Probably the only Blackburn Rovers player I`d want in our side. Blackburn with Dunn in the side are a totally different side to one without. If he wasn`t so injury prone he`d be a certainty for South Africa 2010!
Fulham head north without the injured Bobby Zamora, John Pantsil, Simon Davies and Diomansy Kamara, however, they should be able to call upon the services of Brede Hangeland who has recovered form the re-occurrence of the knee injury he suffered last time out. With Dickson Etuhu currently on international duty in the African Cup of Nations then it`s likely that Chris Baird will once again fill-in in midfield. At right back we expect Stephen Kelly to deputise for Pantsil. The big question though remains whether Clint Dempsey will secure a starting place after missing out at Stoke but playing such a spirited role in the comeback.
We expect Fulham to line up as follows:-
Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Baird, Murphy, Gera, Dempsey, Johnson
Will be desperate to get back on the score sheet after his lengthy spell out through injury. A goal or two up at Ewood Park would do us nicely.
The last time these two sides clashed Fulham emerged healthy winners by 3-0 with the goals coming from Nevland and two from Dempsey. It was a match Sam Allardyce missed after requiring an operation for a heart problem. The win also ended a run of six games whereby Fulham hadn`t won. Blackburn, incidentally, have not won a league game in the last nine attempts.
Kevin Friend will be the man who takes charge of this one.
Fulham`s away form leaves a lot to be desired. Our remarkable rise to success has been based on our formidable home record. Blackburn though are a side who are under pressure, rumours persist that Sam Allardyce could go if results are not turned around quickly. It`s amazing what pressure can do to a side and for this reason I reckon a free-flowing Fulham side, at their best, can come back south with all three points, possibly via a narrow win!
Our next match is away in round four of the FA cup, when we travel to either Accrington Stanley of Gillingham, who have still to play their third round tie after interruptions from the weather.
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Date:Saturday January 16 2010
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