Fulham v Wigan Preview!
Only goal difference is currently keeping Fulham out of the relegation places, it`s a worrying scenario considering a mere two games ago we were championing our unbeaten start to the Premier League season. Two games on and the situation has totally changed after defeats to Spurs (h) and West Brom (a). Should we seek solace in the fact that both of those sides are riding high in the league or is it a wake up call? This Saturday we welcome Wigan Athletic to the cottage and it clearly is a fixture we must be looking to win.
One disadvantage Mark Hughes had when he took the Fulham job was the fact that he had very little time to mould the squad only able to acquire last minute signings.
Ahead of the fixture against Wigan, Mark has spoken about his January transfer window ambitions where it looks as if Fulham could be involved in some serious action with Mark explaining to the local media,
"Things are being put into place so we can be proactive rather than reactive as we were last time."
"We spent time trying to hang onto Paul Konchesky. But when that didn`t happen it was fortunate we had a viable option in Carlos Salcido straight away."
"Moussa Dembele was someone I`d admired for a number of seasons - so when it was flagged up he might be available we moved very quickly. Sometimes negotiations can drag on for weeks and sometimes they take 24 hours."
It should be an interesting month!
Fulham Team News:
Mark Hughes will be hoping that his injury concerns have diminished. Last time out our midfield had a somewhat scratch look to it with Etuhu, Davies, Duff and Murphy all absent. It`s highly unlikely that Etuhu will be fit but the return of any of the others would be considered a bonus.
Definitely out though are long term injury victims Zamora and Sendros although Saturday could herald the return to the starting eleven of Andrew Johnson. The striker made a cameo appearance at West Brom and has also featured in a midweek friendly, scoring in the process, Johnson to partner Dembele up front - it could well turn out that way.
Player to watch: Andrew Johnson
Having been out for so long must have been a hugely frustrating period for Andrew, but now he`s back he`ll be looking to get amongst the goals.
Wigan Team News:
Wigan arrive at Craven Cottage having boosted their confidence with a Carling Cup victory over Swansea City, a particularly pleasurable experience considering their boss, Roberto Martinez, had previous connections with the Welsh side.
The fixture also saw their costly summer signing, Mauro Boselli, net his first goal of the season and it`ll be interesting to see if Martinez sticks with his South American striker.
One player likely to be missing is their midfield starlet James MaCarthy who was the victim of a poor tackle in their last Premier League outing against Bolton Wanderers.
Talented players to look out for include Victor Moses, Hugo Rodallega and Maynor Figueroa.
Player to watch: Hugo Rodallega
A talented player who could prove to be very troublesome if we don`t get a grip of things.
Match Facts & Stats
Two defeats on the bounce have seen those memories of that unbeaten run diminish. Our league position is far from satisfactory and Wigan should provide a fine opportunity to do just that.
As for Wigan, they sit just one point above us having drawn their last two Premier League fixtures at home to Bolton and away to Newcastle.
If I were to suggest anything other than a Fulham victory this Saturday I`d stand accused of committing treason. We may have lost the last two games but Wigan are in a similar scenario as us when it comes to the Premier League. It may be a dour affair at first but our intuition tells us that Fulham will have the edge in this one.
Next up is a home fixture against Aston Villa!