Fulham v Stoke (Preview)
Tomorrow (Wednesday) sees the forgotten match take place. I say forgotten because this numpty had completely forgotten about it as he penned his West Ham preview, publically stating that we only had trips to Arsenal and Hamburg after the West Ham fixture.
But, Stoke it is who we play in our final Premier League home game of the season and it promises to be a tough encounter with (Sir) Roy almost certainly preparing to rest key members of his squad again.
Mind you, if it gets the same result as it did on Sunday then I guess there`ll be no questions asked as Fulham look for that win that should secure a very healthy top ten finish for the season.
With Europa League glory on the horizon (Sir) Roy Hodgson still wants his side to push on for a top ten finish remarking,
"It is still a very healthy objective to finish in the top 10 and I believe it is healthy to retain this target."
We at Vital Fulham reckon a win on Wednesday should do the trick!
Fulham Team News:
With the Europa League Final now just a little over a week away there`s every possibility that (Sir) Roy Hodgson will rotate his squad again. On Sunday, against West Ham, Hangeland, Hughes, Duff, Gera, Murphy and Etuhu were all rested. It wouldn`t surprise me if they were all absent again this Wednesday night as Roy rests the ahead of yet another fixture in what has been a mammoth campaign.
One player also unlikely to start is Bobby Zamora with Roy admitting that his injury will need round the clock treatment if he is to have any hope of making the starting eleven for the final. Bobby, off course, joins Andrew Johnson on the treatment list.
As for a starting eleven, I`m going for a totally random one of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Shorey, Greening, Etuhu, Dikgacoi, Riise, Nevland, Dempsey
Let`s see how near or how far off the mark I am!
Player to watch: Erik Nevland
Probably the last chance the majority of the Craven Cottage support will have the opportunity to bid farewell to the striker before he returns to his homeland, let`s give him a good send off!
Stoke Team News:
Stoke come into this match with two injuries, both picked up at Stamford Bridge in that infamous 7-0 battering. Thomas Sorensen and Abdoulaye Faye are still both considered unfit. With Sorensen out Asmir Begovic is likely to continue in goal.
Player to watch: Ricardo Fuller
Stoke`s top scorer and a player who is capable of ghosting past people. Scored a belter at West Ham a few weeks ago that was likened to the great goal Ricky Villa once scored at Wembley
Match Facts & Stats
Looking back at previous encounters the two sides have met 66 times with Fulham registering 27 wins to the 24 of Stoke with 15 ending all square.
The last time Stoke won at Craven Cottage was back in 1991 when a Christopher, sorry Wayne, Biggins goal gave them a 1-0 win.
The reciprocating fixture this season saw Fulham lose 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium.
The officials appointed for this match are:- Referee - Peter Walton Assistants - Ron Ganfield and Patrick Keane Fourth Official - Mike Jones
The last time Stoke came to West London our rivals from down the road destroyed what was, until then, a pretty healthy away record, beating them 7-0. Now whilst I`m not predicting the only English team left in Europe can match that feat I`d hope that Fulham can keep the impetus of recent weeks going and pull off a victory. It might be a little dour and it might be tight but I`m going for a1-0 to the lads.
Next up is our final Premier League fixture of the season, a trip to play Arsenal, followed by the night of our lives over in Hamburg in the Europa Cup Final, on May 12th!