Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday October 26 2007
Stadium of Light
Are there really such things as six pointers this early in the season? Well I believe so. Although we may have climbed a few places up the table after our 0-0 draw with Derby, a defeat tomorrow will surely see us plunger back into the relegation battle.
Indeed, anything other than a win will see the clubs target of seven points from the three games (Derby, Sunderland and Reading) as unachievable. With tough games against top notch opposition in the form of Liverpool, Blackburn, Manchester united and Everton to follow, then perhaps you`ll get my drift with regards to the six point idea.
"If we don`t win this one we`re in the mire."
Spouted by none other than me, it`s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
Sunderland have doubts about the fitness of Dwight Yorke (calf) and Andrew Stokes (hamstring) whilst defender Paul McShane will also be missing due to suspension.
Roy Keane will select his starting eleven form the following squad - Gordon, Ward Nosworthy, Halford, Kay, Higginbotham, Collins, Harte, Etuhu, Wallace, Yorke, Miller, Leadbitter, Chopra, Jones, Stokes, Murphy, Connolly, O`Donavan.
The keeper interested Fulham during the summer and eventually cost Sunderland a record fee foe a British keeper. It`ll be interesting to compare him with our won Anti Niemi. Whilst there is no doubt Gordon has youth on his side, is he as good as our Anti? Tomorrow we may well see.
Fulham travel to Sunderland without the services of long term injury victims - Jimmy Bullard, Brian McBride, Lee Cook, Kasey Keller, Ian Pearce, Philippe Christanval and Moritz Volz. Also missing will be Paul Koncheskey who picked up a straight red card last weekend against Derby. Carlos Bocanegra is expected to fill in for Koncheskey. Unfortunately, also missing for the trip is Hameur Bouazza who is suffering from a shoulder injury.
Fulham squad - Niemi, Warner, Baird, Stefnovic, Bocanegra, Hughes, Davis, Smertin, Murphy, Seol, Davies, Healy, Dempsey, Kamara, Kuqi
After putting in a man of the match display last Saturday, you get the feeling more of the same may well be required at the Stadium of Light. If we are to take all three points then we`ll need a good display form a keeper who has reacted extremely well to being dropped.
History favours Fulham Sunderland have only recorded one win over us in the Premier League and have only taken maximum points off of us in eighteen long years. It sounds great until you realise we`ve only played each other three times on Wearside during that lengthy spell.
In all competitive matches against Sunderland, on their patch, the record stands at - Sunderland 10 wins, Fulham 4 wins, Draws 7.
Andre Marriner of the West Midlands will be the referee entrusted with incurring our wrath!
Be bold, be brave, have no regrets, that`s what Sanchez should be telling our players! Therefore, I`ll follow the same principles and go for a rare away win for Fulham, our first in 22 games on the road.
With Fulham no longer participating in the Carling Cup, our next fixture is against Reading at Craven Cottage next weekend.
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Date:Friday October 26 2007
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