Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday December 28 2007
Fulham, after taking a hammering at Spurs, travel to equally salubrious surroundings when they to St Andrews this weekend. If ever this was the time to break that away record then this is it. A defeat would leave us looking over our shoulders at the relegation trap door, a draw wouldn`t be too bad but a win would be ideal. Indeed, the fixture will provide the ideal opportunity for our new manager, Roy Hodgson, to view just how much work he has to do.
"Were did he spring from?"
Every Fulham supporter who was expecting ex-favourite John Collins to be appointed our next manager.
After the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, Birmingham look likely to stick with the same starting eleven. One injury that might have made Alex McLeish is the knee injury suffered by Olivier Kapo.
McLeish willpick form the following squad - Maik Taylor, Parnaby, Kelly, Sadler, Queudrue, Schmitz, Ridgewell, Jaidi, Djourou, Larsson, De Ridder, Muamba, Nafti, Johnson, McSheffrey, Kapo, Jerome, Forssell, O'Connor, Doyle.
The ex-Chelsea striker has had a horrendous time with injuries but looks to be back to full fitness and his striking prowess should cause us problems.
After experimenting with a 4-3-3 formation that saw us get hammered, Ray Lewington (in his last game in charge) will probably revert to the more standard 4-4-2 formation.
Definitely out are the injured Brian McBride, Lee Cook and Jimmy Bullard. Mortiz Volz is suspended after his red card at White Hart Lane.
Therefore, Lewington will pick his starting eleven from the following - Niemi, Warner, Baird, Omozusi, Hughes, Stefanovic, Bocanegra, Konchesky, Davies, Smertin, Davis, Murphy, Dempsey, Kamara, Kuqi, Healy, Bouazza, Leijer, Seol.
On a goal scoring spree that has unfortunately provided nothing in return in the way of points for us in recent weeks. Nevertheless, his goals have at least given us something to cheer about during bleak periods.
In the last two meetings between the sides Fulham failed to score and with our current dreadful away record not many would give us good odds to upset the apple cart tomorrow.
However, honours are even in the Premier League in fixtures between the two teams at St Andrews whilst Birmingham just have the edge in fixtures including Premier League and other league games.
at Birmingham only
League (inc PL): Birmingham 15 wins, Fulham 8, Draws 11
Prem: Birmingham 1 win, Fulham 1, Draws 2
Mark Clattenburg will be the official hoping for a relatively easy afternoon!
It`ll be a tough game in an intimidating atmosphere. With our moral low after getting a festive stuffing from Spurs the most we can hope for is a draw. Therefore, I`m going to be brave and predict we`ll stifle the home team and come away with a 1-1 draw.
For our next fixture we kind of welcome our near neighbours, Chelsea, to Craven Cottage. I say kind off because they rub us up the wrong way and there is nothing more we`d like to do than beat them and finally end any lingering hopes they may have to regaining the Premiership trophy.
Date:Friday December 28 2007
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