Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday February 3 2012
We`re back on the road this weekend for a fixture that s being televised by the satellite channel ESPN. In a way, considering our away form of recent times, I can`t help but feel we`re seen as the lambs being led to the slaughter as we prepare to take on high-flying Manchester City. But where there is faith there is hope and after our draw in the corresponding fixture last season, who knows!
Manchester City go into this fixture with Yaya and Kolo Toure both on international duty at the African Cup of Nations whilst the unpredictable, but brilliant, Italian forward Mario Balotelli is suspended.
Hopeful of making comebacks, after injury, are the duo of Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards. Also hoping to feature will be their deadline day signing, David Pizarro.
But, definitely missing, will be Carlos Tevez with the Argentine in no-mans land after failing to find a club in the transfer window.
The Spaniard has had a wonderful season and is the player that gives City so much class going forward. Definitely one to watch!
Martin Jol enters this fixture with the welcome news that both Mark Schwarzer and Moussa Dembele are available for selection again. Whether David Stockdale will be asked to step aside, after some decent performances; remains to be seen.
Out though are long term injury victim Grygera and Steve Sidwell, who is out for six weeks after picking up a hernia injury in midweek.
Not available, due to international clearance problems is our new Russian centre-forward, Pavel Pogrebnyak, which will give us all a little longer to get our tongues around his surname.
Just can`t stop scoring, let`s hope his rich run of goal-scoring form continues.
This Saturday might not be the lost cause some are making it out to be. Looking through the record books we find that Fulham are unbeaten in their last 4 visits to the Etihad Stadium and having lost only once in the last eight. It`d be nice to keep that run going would it not!
If you`d asked me to predict this one a few weeks ago I`d have grimaced and said a Manchester City victory. But a lot has happened in a few short weeks and City are no longer the force they appeared to be. Losing to Everton, in midweek, saw their lead at the top of the table cancelled out. But there`s a chance that loss may have a sting in its tail for us. But, if we stick to a game plan we can get something out of this, a draw possibly!
Next weekend we entertain Stoke City at Craven Cottage.
Date:Friday February 3 2012
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