Fulham v Reading
Cometh the hour cometh the man! Perhaps we should be hoping that eleven step forward as the fixture against Reading could be a season defining fixture. A win should see us climb the table whereas a defeat will see us enter a run of games whereby Blackburn, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton form the opposition, a daunting prospect for the best teams in the land. Six pointers are quite common in football speak but this is definitely one!
"I`m nervous, very nervous" - me yesterday and today I feel even worse. Come on lads, do it for everyone who can`t sleep at night, everyone who fears for our Premier League future, everyone who could do with a few beers to celebrate a rare win, one that would be only our second of the season in the top flight!
Fulham Team News:
Fulham enter the fixture with the likes of Jimmy Bullard, Brian McBride, Kasey Keller and Lee Cook all sidelined. They are further hampered by the non-availability, through suspension of Paul Koncheskey and Carlos Bocanegra.
Whether Seol Ki-Hyeon will be selected to face his former club remains to be seen, if he is can he please add his name to that wonderfully long list of players that have scored against their former clubs?
In defence, Aaron Hughes will be making his 250th League start in a career that has seen him play for Newcastle, Aston Villa and now Fulham.
Player to watch: Kamara
A matter of ten days ago Kamara suggested it was time he started to score the goals he was signed to do. Is there any better time than now to start delivering?
Reading Team News:
Many Fulham supporters were hoping that Liam Rosenior would form part of the starting eleven for the visitors but it doesn`t seem as if he will do so. It would have been nice to give him a warm reception as a thank you for the ninety-two appearances he made for us before he moved west down the M4.
In goal for Reading will be Marcus Hahneman, an American, who actually made four appearances for Fulham between July 1999 and August 2002. He may not be in a position to add his name to the list we`ve previously discussed but I wouldn`t bet against him thwarting us in another way.
Up front, whilst Kevin Doyle took all the plaudits last season for his goal scoring feats, Dave Kitson has emerged as Reading`s top scorer this season. On the day that he`ll be making his 100th league appearance for Reading can we all pray that he doesn`t add to his total of four this season and also that any dreams he has of scoring the brace that will take him to fifty league goals are well and truly quashed.
Player to watch: James Harper
The unsung hero of the Reading team and the only player to have featured in every minute of every one of Readings games this season. To do so he must be doing something right!
Match Facts & Stats
Thankfully Fulham are at home this weekend, our away record is nothing grand to shout about and if we are going to pick up three points we have a better chance of doing it at Craven Cottage than on the road.
In the corresponding fixture last season Fulham were defeated 1-0 with Kevin Doyle scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot.
Trawling through the record books we find that in encounters with Reading on home soil we`re slightly ahead with the record being as follows -
Fulham 6 wins, Reading 4 wins, Draws 5
In all games, it`s a little more even with the record being as follows -
Fulham 11 wins, Reading 12 wins, Draws 7
Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear) who recently infuriated Everton supporters during their recent derby with Liverpool will be the man in charge
It`s been hard to keep optimistic in recent weeks. Games we should have won against Derby and Sunderland have been drawn and with difficult opposition to face in our next four games we`re desperate for a win. Thankfully, against a Reading side that has been leaking goals on a consistent basis I can see it happening. It may be a scrappy affair, it may be settled by one goal but I can see Fulham emerging with a 2-1 victory.
Fulham travel to Anfield next weekend for a fixture against Liverpool!