Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday May 13 2011
Fulham travel to St Andrews for their penultimate fixture of the season, this weekend to take on a Birmingham City side that is still in the relegation shake-up. Mark Hughes, after seeing his team dismantled 5-2 by Liverpool, will be looking for a response as Fulham, after going for so long without an away win, seek to make it two on the bounce.
Ahead of the trip to Birmingham, Mark Hughes has, once again, re-iterated that he loves our club even though he realizes we`ll never be as fashionable as some of the big boys, commenting to the media,
'I just thought it was important that people understood and that I needed to clarify my feelings towards the position I hold. As I have said many, many times before, I really enjoy being here. We have great potential and we're looking to build on what we've achieved this year."
'We want to finish in that top ten if we can and then we will be able to look back on the season and ahead to next season with real confidence."
'We've got the basis of a good team. I am very clear in how far we can go as a club - it's fair to say there is a glass ceiling for clubs in a similar position - but that does not mean it's not challenging.'
Glory is achievable, as we all know, just look back to last season and that magical Europa League run
Alex McLeish has several players not available through injury - Dann, Martins, McFadden, Taylor and Valles.
Rated as doubtful is Zigic whilst Gardner and Ridgwell, two influential players, are suspended.
A competitive Scot who just gives his all week in and week out in the heart of the Birmingham midfield.
Mark Hughes takes his side to St Andrews with three absentees through injury. Duff, Gera and Halliche are all injured. There are no suspensions to contend with although Hughes may shake things up slightly after the 5-2 drubbing by Liverpool on Monday night.
Hopefully Aaron Hughes will start thereby edging him one game closer to making an appearance in every Premier League game this season.
Could David Stockdale get a rare start? It remains to be seen!
After returning from the leg injury that kept him out for so long, Bobby has been used sparingly. But it has to be said that whenever he`s on the field of play we look a far better side.
Fulham lag behind Birmingham when it comes to victories in fixtures between the two sides. Our hosts this weekend have won 31 of the 83 games played with Fulham having won 25.
Our recent record at St Andrews though is good. In the last nine visits we`ve only lost twice.
With regards to current form, Fulham have won 4 out of their last 8 whilst Birmingham have lost 3 of their last 4
Our officials are Peter Walton who will be ably assisted by Patrick Keane and Andy Madley running the line with Mark Halsey holding up that board thingy and keeping Hughes and McLeish in order!
Is the will to survive going to be our downfall this weekend? The reason I ask is that I just have this gut feeling that Birmingham could be a little more fire dup for this one than we will be. Alex McLeish`s side will be desperate to avoid the drop whereas our season is virtually over. Nevertheless, I reckon we can get something out of this one and I`d be very surprised if we didn`t add to Birmingham`s woes by at least getting a point.
Fulham finish their season next weekend with a home fixture against Arsenal.
Date:Friday May 13 2011
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