Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday September 17 2010
Mark Hughes returns to his old stomping ground this Saturday, eager to put one over his former employers by securing a first away win of the season for Fulham. Sam Allardyce though will have other ideas as we go head to head at 15:00 hours this Saturday. May the best side (us) win!
Mark Hughes is hopeful that recent injury victim, Damien Duff, could possibly be available for this clash having remarked,
"He came through two tentative training sessions this week, and we are hopeful he will be available for the game.'
He`s also looking to improve our dreadful away form, further adding in a recent press interview,
"Our away form is not good, but were solid and played well at Bolton in the first match of the season - and I think we can build on that.'
Sam Allardyce enters the fixture without the following first team squad members - Nelson, Salgado and Andrews. The latter is definitely out but the former two may be able to shake off their injuries and prove their fitness with the aid of fitness tests.
On his day, one of the most talented midfield operatives of his generation! Unfortunately, his career has been beset with injury concerns that tend to take him out of the public limelight during crucial periods. If he is fit for this fixture then he`ll need careful attention paying to otherwise our dreams of a first away win, in the Premier League, will be dealt a blow!
Mark Hughes enters the fixture without the services of what many would describe as his two main strikers with Bobby Zamora joining Andrew Johnson on the injured list. Also not available are Philippe Senderos and Diomansy Kamara whilst David Stockdale will not be available for contention again until the Everton fixture as he nurses an ankle back to fitness. Damien Duff is another whose participation depends upon how his injury has fared since we last reported on the situation.
With new signings Halliche and Salcido on standby to make their debuts, we can`t, after the last gasp win last weekend, see Mark making many changes, perhaps the reintroduction of Duff (if fit) and Clint Dempsey to partner Moussa Dembele up front, giving us a probable line-up of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Gera, Dembele, Dempsey
Two goals, including the last gasp winner, against Wolves last Saturday, have confirmed that Mark Hughes has picked up a gem in Dembele. But, with Bobby Zamora out injured until January 2011, it remains to be seen if he can step up and be as effective as a central striker.
Our recent record against Blackburn isn`t that good, in fact it`s downright awful with Fulham having only won once in the last eight attempts.
But there is some hope as Mark Hughes appears to have the Indian sign over Sam Allardyce in recent meetings with Sam losing four out of the last five with the other meeting being a draw.
The last meeting between the two sides saw Blackburn emerge the victors by 2-0.
Anthony Taylor is the man in the middle for this fixture.
Ewood Park is never the easiest of ground to visit but with Mark returning to his old sparring ground could there be a bit of added resolve to get that first away win? We certainly think so because we`re going for a continuation of our season long unbeaten run and a 2-1 Fulham win!
A Carling Cup tie at Stoke awaits us on Tuesday whilst Everton will visit Craven Cottage next Saturday.
Date:Friday September 17 2010
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