Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday March 26 2010
After the disappointment of the FA Cup defeat, and ahead of the enticing Europa League game with Wolfsburg, Fulham take the high road to Hull to take on a side that has seen its manager, Phil Brown, put on gardening leave whilst Iain Dowie has come along in the form of International Rescue to save their Premier League hides.
Can Fulham pull off a rare away win?
Iain Dowie, ludicrously named as a Football Management Consultant with Phil Brown on gardening leave and still listed as their official manager, seems to believe he`s inherited a squad capable of staying up when he remarks,
"There is enough in this squad to keep us up. No doubt about that."
Off course there is Iain, off course there is!
After taking over the hot-seat from Phil Brown this is Iain Dowie`s second game in charge. The first, at Portsmouth, ended in dramatic defeat as his side threw away a 2-1 lead, with three minutes, to go to lose 3-2.
For our visit Dowie will be without the services of Kamil Zayatte, Amir Zaki, Anthony Gardner and Ian Ashbee. Two others, Jozy Altidore and Stepehn Hunt will require fitness tests.
But Dowie is able to welcome back George Boateng after the midfielder finished serving a suspension.
Jimmy has now made his comeback from a second serious knee injury and whether you love him or hate him, after his somewhat acrimonious departure from Craven Cottage, he remains one of the characters of our game.
Fulham go into the fixture on the back of a disappointing 31- FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Spurs. With our Premier League future assured there could be tendency to cast one eye on the enticing Europa League Quarter-Final fixture with Wolfsburg next Thursday and (Sir) Roy may deem it necessary to rest a few of his star players who have defied tiredness to produce decent display after decent display in recent weeks.
Bobby Zamora, who retired in the second half of the Spurs clash after feeling ill, is one that could be rested; another is Brede Hangeland who recently suffered a chest injury whilst Paul Konchesky may also sit out this fixture giving Nicky Shorey another run.
Pulling eleven names out of our magic hat, we feel (Sir) Roy may go for a starting eleven as follows:-
Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Smalling, Shorey, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Gera, Dempsey
Slots in superbly alongside Brede Hangeland and doesn`t really get the praise he deserves.
Last season Hull City, under the stewardship of Phil Brown; did the double over Fulham. Up at the KC Stadium, on the first day of the season if I recall right, we were beaten 2-1 and in the return fixture, at Craven Cottage, we slipped to a 1-0 defeat.
This season, that has been half avenged with Fulham already chalking up a 2-0 win over 'The Tigers` at Craven Cottage.
Is it too much too hope for an away win to do a double of our own?
The man in charge of this affair will be Chris Foy.
Predicting our results on the road, especially in the Premier League, is a bit like the lottery. You hope that one day you`ll get it right but invariably you end up disappointed. But football is all about keeping the faith and with Hull hardly in the best of form, I`m taking Fulham to emerge victors by the odd goal in three! I know. I`m a brave man!
Our next Premier League fixture is a visit from Wigan Athletic but before that, on Thursday April 1st, we have the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final against the Champions of Germany, Wolfsburg!
Date:Friday March 26 2010
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