Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday February 26 2011
Fulham face a difficult trip this Sunday when they travel north to take on big-spending Manchester City. The fixture does have a little extra spice though with it being the first time Mark Hughes has returned to the club since being dumped, in favour of Roberto Mancini some fourteen months.
Naturally, with it being his first return since being disposed of, there is considerable media attention being paid to the thoughts Mark Hughes may have about coming face to face with those who stabbed him in the back.
Mark, as you`d expect, isn`t prepared to get involved in a tit-for-tat argument about what went on but has indicated his conscience is clear by remarking,
"There are good people there. But my focus is to do well in the job I have at the moment and that is with Fulham Football Club."
"It is a good club with good people here. I have no qualms with going back to Manchester City."
"I know I can walk through the doors with my head held high and look everyone in the eye, because of the job I did there."
"Whether or not that can be said of some people there, that is for you to decide."
"Certainly I will have no problem there walking through the door and seeing people I am fond of. I`ll say hello to those guys."
But I bet he`s longing to return south with the three points though.
Roberto Mancini has been bleating about an ever-growing injury list leaving him with, reportedly, just fifteen fit senior players to select from, our heart bleeds for him.
Definitely out are Nigel De Jong, Adam Johnson and Shay Given whilst Vincent Kompany, James Milner and Micah Richards all rated as doubtful.
City may have spent an absolute fortune in the transfer market but this Argentine remains their best investment.
Just as you thought things were getting better, Mark Hughes has had to deal with the fact that one of his January transfer window signings, Steve Sidwell, will be out for a month with a knee problem.
Unfortunately, Bobby Zamora`s comeback from injury has hit an obstacle with the striker turning an ankle in training and he is rated as doubtful. Dickson Etuhu may return but Diomansy Kamara and Philippe Senderos are both not available.
It could be a busy afternoon for our Australian keeper and if we are to get anything form the match he`ll need to be on top form.
The City of Manchester Stadium has been, in recent years, a happy hunting ground for Fulham with the Cottagers having taken 7 points out of the last 9 on offer.
Strangely enough, the home side hasn`t won this fixture since November 2006 when City beat us 3-1.
Peter Walton is the man appointed to take charge of this fixture.
There`s no doubting it`ll be a tough quest going to Eastlands. City still have title winning ambitions and they`ll be looking to take all three points. It may be a hard slog for us but if we remain defensively tight I reckon we could shock a few people and come back with a point.
Next up for Fulham is a home Premier League fixture against Blackburn Rovers.
Date:Saturday February 26 2011
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