Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday September 14 2012
Fulham, after two consecutive away defeats, will be looking to get back to winning ways when West Bromwich Albion come to Craven Cottage this Saturday afternoon. Martin Jol will be hoping that after a poor performance last time out, against West Ham, that his team can replicate the form that saw them thrash Norwich City 5-0 in the season opener. However, West Brom, guided by Steve Clarke will have other ideas and the fixture could well be a classic.
There`s no doubt that West Brom have started the season well under Steve Clarke and in his first managerial role the Scotsman has got off to the kind of start he wished for. Ahead of the visit to Craven Cottage though, Clarke has spoken about his sides tart, commenting,
"As a coach and professional I targeted nine points from our first three games."
"I think seven is a fair return but we have to look to improve and build on the terrific platform we have given ourselves. It is very early days."
Indeed it is very early days and we`re hoping that as far as West Bromwich Albion go, come Saturday evening it`ll be seven points from twelve for the Baggies!
Martin Jol will be hoping that Bryan Ruiz is able to be considered for selection after missing the last two fixtures with a troublesome hamstring problem.
Dimitar Berbatov, signed form Manchester United, could very well be given a first start seeing a she looked so impressive coming on as a substitute against West Ham.
As for the Greek chap we signed in midweek (I`ll never get my handle around his name), will he start or won`t he, we`ll just have to wait and see.
The Craven Cottage faithful wait to be charmed by the prestigious talent this Bulgarian possesses.
Steve Clarke will be hoping that two of his stars can shake off injuries to play. Steven Reid remains doubtful with a hamstring problem but Romelu Lukaku, the teenage Belgium striker on loan from Chelsea, is expected to have shaken off a foot injury that saw him miss the previous Premier League fixture against Everton.
On his day he`s up there with the best, but on other occasions he does look decidedly average, let`s hope it`s the latter on Saturday.
The form book, in games between these two sides at Craven Cottage, infer that Fulham have the better record. The Cottagers have won 5 of the last 6, the other being a draw.
West Brom`s last win at Craven Cottage was back in the autumn of 1967, 7th October to be precise, when they won 2-1. Since then their record is - Played 13 Lost 8 and drawn 5
Our match officials are - R. East (referee), S. Long (assistant), A. Garratt (assistant), H. Webb (fourth official).
West Bromwich Albion may have made a decent enough start but I`m taking Martin Jol to steer his side to a second win of the season in a close game that could be decided by the odd goal in three, in our favour.
We`re back on the road next time to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan Athletic, next Saturday.
Date:Friday September 14 2012
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