Author Topic: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)  (Read 6757 times)

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Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« on: February 27, 2010, 06:03:20 AM »
Danny Murphy backs Fulham duo Paul Konchesky and Bobby Zamora to bolster England options

By Ashley Gray

Last updated at 1:17 AM on 27th February 2010

Danny Murphy insists England will find no better stand-in at left back than his Fulham team-mate Paul Konchesky.

Fabio Capello will decide on Saturday who to audition against Egypt on Wednesday following injury to Ashley Cole that threatens his World Cup participation and the decision of Wayne Bridge to make himself unavailable.

Switching Manchester City centre half Joleon Lescott is an option, along with natural full backs Stephen Warnock, Leighton Baines and on-loan Fulham defender Nicky Shorey.

But Murphy believes that even if Bridge changes his mind, the Manchester City man does not have the quality of Konchesky, who is struggling to make Sunday' match at Sunderland because of an ankle injury.

'I don’t see a better left-back than Konchesky out there, other than Ashley Cole,' said the Fulham captain.

‘If he can get over this injury, get himself fit and flying, there’s no better left back because he’s a great defender, no one does him for pace, good on one-on-ones and he’s a really good passer of the ball.

'Stevie Warnock is a terrific player I was with at Liverpool, but he hasn’t got the pace that Konchesky’s got. And when you’re playing against some of the best players in the world, that pace is crucial.'

Bobby Zamora is also in Capello's thoughts after hitting 15 goals this season and again showing his strength at working hard and holding up the ball during Fulham's draw at Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday night.

'He’ll let no one down because he’s got a great work ethic and he’s a big, strong boy,' said Murphy. ‘And I think in certain games you need a different option. You need to whack it up there and someone to get hold of it and bring people into play.'

Zamora is a doubt after aggravating an achilles problem in the Ukraine, where Murphy's injury-time sending off put a dampener on setting up a last 16 glamour tie against Juventus.

'I’ve made a silly kick out,' said Murphy. ‘I have to hold my hands up and say I’ve been stupid and I should know better.

'But there was no malice in it. I’m really hopeful it’ll only be a one-game ban.’

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 06:03:51 AM »
The squad has a youthful look, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Collison and Gareth Bale included, but there is also a recall for Fulham's Simon Davies.
The 30-year-old midfielder has not featured since back-to-back World Cup qualifying defeats to Germany and Finland a year ago.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 06:05:38 AM »
SUNDERLAND v Fulham: Steve Bruce boosted by return of Lee Cattermole from suspension

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 3:39 PM on 26th February 2010

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole will return from suspension for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The 21-year-old missed last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal after being sent off at Portsmouth. David Meyler, who was dismissed during the same game, still has two more matches to serve.

Manager Steve Bruce is otherwise only without Andy Reid (hamstring) and Jordan Henderson (ankle), and they could both be back in business within 10 days.

Team (from): Gordon, Fulop, Bardsley, Hutton, Turner, Ferdinand, Mensah, Kilgallon, Da Silva, Cattermole, Cana, Zenden, Richardson, Malbranque, Campbell, Bent, Jones, Benjani, Liddle, Noble.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 06:10:34 AM »

FootyMAD's Sunderland match preview
By Footymad Saturday, 27th February 2010

FootyMad attempt to assist you with their form guide as Sunderland take on Fulham in a Premier League match on Sunday, 28th February 2010 at 15:00.

History of the Sunderland v Fulham fixture

Fulham face a trip to Sunderland at The Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon, hoping to improve upon an average previous return from this fixture. Of the 26 games played, Cottagers have recorded 5 wins, and Sunderland have come away with 12 victories.

The most recent encounter between these two sides was just last season, in January 2009, the The Black Cats carving out a narrow 1 - 0 victory in a Premier League match.

For a detailed analysis of the head-to-head between the two sides, click here

Recent encounters between the teams:
2009/2010 Sun 06 Dec Fulham 1 - 0 Sunderland PREM
2008/2009 Tue 27 Jan Sunderland 1 - 0 Fulham PREM
2008/2009 Sat 18 Oct Fulham 0 - 0 Sunderland PREM
2007/2008 Sat 05 Apr Fulham 1 - 3 Sunderland PREM
2007/2008 Sat 27 Oct Sunderland 1 - 1 Fulham PREM
2005/2006 Thu 04 May Sunderland 2 - 1 Fulham PREM
2005/2006 Mon 02 Jan Fulham 2 - 1 Sunderland PREM

Recent respective form guides

Sunderland losing only 1 of the last six, but drawing 4 of them. The goals for column just outweighs the goals against over this period, 6 to 5.

Fulham have an average recent record on the road, seeing them win just 1 and draw 2 of the last six. While the Cottagers have hit 6 goals, 9 have hit the back of the wrong net.

Sunderland find themselves struggling down in 14th position in the league having picked up 26 points from their 26 matches. Fulham's 37 points from 27 games sees them lie inside the top half of the table, in 9th position.

For a detailed analysis of team form guides throughout the leagues, click here

Current form guides: P W D L F A P
Sunderland 6 0 3 3 3 8 3
Fulham 6 4 2 0 12 3 14

FootyMad's prediction ...

Nothing appears to be going right for the Cottagers out on the road recently, yet the Madmen can see a turn around in fortunes as they battle to a victory in a closely fought contest at Sunderland. Away win

Sequence statistics:
Sunderland Drawn last 2 games at home.
Failed to win in previous 2 home matches.
Not won in the 7 most recent games.
Fulham Previous 2 away games have finished all-square.
Not won in previous 3 away matches.
8 games since last defeat.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 06:14:57 AM »

6pm kick off against Juventus

by Dan on February 26, 2010

I’m not going to castigate the club for this as I’m not entirely sure that this is fully their decision – they may have been beholden to UEFA’s scheduling demands, but kicking off at 6pm on a Thursday is undoubtedly going to make it difficult for some fans to make it to the Cottage for one of the biggest nights in Fulham’s history.

It may even alter the atmosphere, which would be a real shame as the place was rocking for the first leg against Shakhtar, and I reckon that urgency transmitted itself to the players.

The last time Fulham went out of European competition it was after an early kick-off to compensate for continental television. Let’s just hope history doesn’t repeat itself

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 06:16:44 AM »

Did Sunderland ‘reinvent Bobby Zamora?’

by Dan on February 26, 2010

Perhaps Steve Bruce was warming to his theme during his pre-match press conference or just being deliberately disingenious, but this comment strikes me as a little odd:

I think we reinvented Bobby Zamora when we played at Fulham. He made a mess of us down there, if I am honest, he was very, very good on the day.

No doubt Zamora was good against Sunderland. But most of the talk after that game was about his celebration rather than any England call-up. And it’s certainly untrue to suggest that Bobby’s only been in form since early-December. Let’s take a closer look:

30 July: Scores a long-ranger in Vetra to get our Europa League campaign off and running.

15 Aug: Gets a little fortunate with the winner against Portsmouth.

20 Aug: Looks awesome against Amkar Perm. Belts in a powerful goal to go with a top-notch display as the leader of the line.

19 Oct: Clincal from close range to end a barren run and set Fulham on their way against Hull.

22 Oct: Bullies Roma at the Cottage. Momentum swings back towards the Italians when he’s taken off early by Hodgson.

25 Oct: Misses a sitter at Man City. Much of the post-match hilarity obscures a selfless performance.

31 Oct: Plays a blinder against Liverpool. Rolls in the first, gives Jamie Carragher the run around and the Liverpool defender is sent off – long after he actually should have been having hauled Zamora down twice.

6 Dec: Scores winner against Sunderland.

Care to think again, Steve?

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 06:19:04 AM »

Drama awaits shaky Sunderland

By Norman Hubbard

February 25, 2010

Seasons tend to end somewhat dramatically for Sunderland. Last year, it had barely finished when Ricky Sbragia decided he was not best suited to management. Twelve months before, Roy Keane reacted to securing safety with an outburst of typical honesty and perfectionism when he said: "We've lost 22 games this season and people are telling me we've had a good season, After losing 22 games, I'm lucky to be in a job."

Twice in the past decade, they have ended with Sunderland statistically the worst side in Premier League history, twice with promotion from the Championship and once more with play-off defeat. And now? That is a cause of increasing concern on Wearside, where they are strangers to the supposed mediocrity of mid-table.

Sunderland's early-season results suggested a finish in the top third should be feasible. Their recent record has placed them in the lowest third of the table. Despite stiff competition, they are the out-of-form side there. While Bolton, Burnley, Portsmouth, Wigan and Hull have endured their difficulties over the last couple of months, none has gone as long without a win as the Black Cats.

It is 13 matches, dating back to November's defeat of Arsenal, since they triumphed. Sunday's game against Fulham at the Stadium of Light can be deemed winnable, but so were the matches against Portsmouth, Stoke and Wigan, who all departed with a point.

The familiar question can be posed: where did it go wrong? Bruce can, correctly, cite injuries that have not been equally distributed across the squad. He was so short of defenders for January's trip to Chelsea that midfielder Lorik Cana played in the back four in the 7-2 defeat; come Saturday's visit to Arsenal, a shortage of midfielders meant centre-back Anton Ferdinand was pushed further forward than normal.

Continuity has been impossible. Bruce has fielded 16 different back fours thus far, a number that is likely to rise before the end of the campaign. The strongest midfield may well comprise the quartet who began the win against Liverpool (Cana, Lee Cattermole, Andy Reid and Steed Malbranque), but that unit has only been deployed twice since.

Stability, however, has not been on the agenda. Bruce has taken a wrecking ball to the oversized squad Keane left. Nine players have arrived, three of them on loan, and 28 departed on either permanent or short-term deals in the last nine months. Hastily-assembled sides often display inconsistency, though, since Arsenal were overcome, Sunderland have acquired the wrong sort of consistency.

Bruce may have been guilty of trying to change too much too quickly. Cana, Cattermole and Darren Bent all belong in a strong first XI who fostered optimism in autumn, but the subsequent injuries suggest the new manager may have pruned the squad rather too efficiently to leave options on the bench. While it is telling that many of Keane's recruits now play at a lower level, some for their former manager, not all of the arrivals are obviously superior to their predecessors.

But with suggestions that other players, such as Maynor Figueroa and Keiren Westwood, were also targets for Bruce, it gave the appearance that the manager was trying to sign an entire new side. With the exception of Reid, some of the more able players he has inherited have underperformed. Kenwyne Jones too rarely realises his vast potential, while Malbranque has been demoted to the bench.

Underachievement can appear a constant in the North East, where expectations can overcome some players and where reputations have been dented before. The danger for Bruce is that, despite the local knowledge a Geordie possesses, he falls into the same trap as some of his predecessors. His time at Wigan enhanced his standing, showing a manager with a cosmopolitan approach to bargain-hunting, who could produce a physically tough, footballing side.

His Sunderland team appear based on the same principles, but with a couple of significant differences. Especially when battlers Cana and Cattermole are not in harness, resilience has been lacking. And, more so than elsewhere, Bruce has been given a sizeable budget. His transfer spend exceeds £30 million, even if half of it has been recouped. It makes Sunderland the costliest side in the relegation battle and exacerbates the impression that more was anticipated.

The reality now is that it is a fight for survival. West Ham have displayed how a couple of victories can transform the picture for a talented team; Sunderland, the other side with the most ability in the lower half of the table, should be able to emulate them. But the longer the wait for that elusive win continues, the greater the chances of another sadly dramatic conclusion to a campaign.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2010, 06:20:44 AM »

Roy Hodgson’s Fulham continue to impress

By Robert Hicks   

6:14pm UK, Friday February 26, 2010

Is there anything this man can’t do? Just when you think it can’t be done, Roy Hodgson and his men go and do it.

Be honest, who would have thought that Fulham Football Club would be sitting pretty in the final 16 of the Europa League amongst the likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid?

Thursday night’s match against Shakhtar Donetsk was their biggest challenge of the season, and they succeeded.

“This Shakhtar team is as good as any team I have come across in 35 years,” states Hodgson. When you think of the great teams this man has come up against in his wonderful career, that’s saying something.

Fulham played well. Very well. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a Fulham side with so much strength and determination about them. But we saw it in abundance last night.

Bringing with them a 2-1 lead from the home leg, Fulham knew they were going to have to play pretty much the entire 90 minutes with their backs up against the wall. And it was hardly a surprise that within half an hour, Shakhtar had racked up 11 shots and nine corners.

However, Fulham were resilient, and with a solid wall of white shirts blocking the path to Mark Schwarzer, Shakhtar were reduced to long shots.

But it was Fulham who against the run of play made the breakthrough with their first real chance of the match. A Damien Duff in-swinging free kick from the right side of the box was met with a perfectly-timed glancing header from Hangeland.

The 50,000 strong crowd, who some of answered a pre-match poll on the club’s website as to whether or not Shakhtar would win, were silenced within a second. This silence soon turned to frustration as they bombarded Fulham with further attacks but all to no avail.

Shakhtar were finally rewarded for their efforts in the latter part of the match with a brilliantly crafted goal, but Hodgson’s side managed to hold on and the vital second goal Shakhtar were searching for never came.

Fulham face Italian giants Juventus next month in what is arguably their most glamorous and biggest match of the last ten years. Can they do it? Will little old Fulham come stricken to stage fright at the Stadio delle Alpi? Who knows — but if there is one thing we can be sure of, it’s that they won’t go down without a fight.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2010, 06:25:35 AM »,19528,11681_5984256,00.html

Zamora not thinking of England

Striker backed by team-mates for international recognition

Last updated: 26th February 2010   

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is staying calm over his chances of breaking into the England squad.

Zamora has enjoyed a superb season for the Cottagers, scoring 15 goals in all competitions despite missing several games due to injury.

He has terrorised opponents with his power and there is a growing clamour for Fabio Capello to take a look at him before this summer's World Cup.

Zamora could be called up for international duty in next week's friendly against Egypt but he is not thinking about the matter too much.

The 29-year-old is just pleased to be performing well in a Fulham side that has continued to impress this term and believes his team-mates deserve much of the credit for his good form.

Asked about his England prospects, Zamora said: "It would be nice but I'm not looking to that at all.

"It's going really well for me but that's purely down to the team who are creating chances for me.

"It's nothing to do with the way I've played this season, it's just that now the ball's going into the back of the net."


Zamora may not want to talk up his England chances but Fulham winger Damien Duff believes he deserves to be selected.

"He has helped me this year, it's been a pleasure playing with him," said the Irishman.

"I've got an understanding with him and, for me, he's one of the best I've played with, so why not?

"Collectively we've done well over the past two years so it's great when the lads get a bit of recognition.

"When he's on the pitch things can happen, so why not give him a go?"


Duff's sentiments were echoed by Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland, who said: "I watch him more than any other English player, he's a great player.

"I have to play against him in training so when I walk out I am happy he's in my team and not the opposition.

"He's done really well for us this season, whether that is good enough for England is for other people to decide but I will say he's a great player."

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2010, 06:26:54 AM »
Inside Fulham Podcast

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Not only did Roy Hodgson’s team remain unbeaten in the Premier League in February following a victory over Birmingham City, but they progressed to the last sixteen of the Europa League after they knocked out the holders Shakhtar Donetsk in dramatic fashion in Ukraine.

In this episode of the Inside Fulham Podcast , we’ll look back at the last seven days, and get the thoughts of manager Roy Hodgson and Skipper Danny Murphy on what the team has achieved in that period.

Download the Fulham Podcast

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2010, 06:33:57 AM »
Nicky answers your questions

Posted by Nicky Shorey on February 26, 2010 at 4:30pm

Send Message   View Nicky Shorey's blog

Thanks to everyone who has posted their questions.

Nicky I would like to start by saying thank you for your efforts so far, you have really impressed the fans. But have the fans impressed you? (Aaron)

Definitely, they're fully behind the Team and you really need that especially if things go bad. Even if things have been a bit scrappy on the pitch they've still stuck with us and we've managed to get the results. It's always hard when you come to a new club and you don't know how it's going to go. So it's great to have that support behind you.

Who would you most like to thank for helping you become the footballer you are today? (FrankieFFC)

That's a tough one; there are so many people to thank. Definitely my parents - my mum for driving me about everywhere when I was younger. My dad had a big bearing on me - he's in the game, working for Reading and he really pushed me hard as a youngster. He keeps me sane whenever I've got worries on the football pitch.

My brother was a big help and my wife is giving me great support at the minute. There are so many people to mention but those are the main ones.

In your opinion who are the best players you have played with and against? What made them special? (Owen Smith)

The one who stands out the most is probably Steven Gerrard, he's got everything. Physical attributes, ability - he's just got everything to his game. As a left-back, some of the people I have come up against, the nippy wingers like Aaron Lennon, Ronaldo and Wright-Phillips are always tricky. But I'd say Steven Gerrard is probably the best.

How is Fulham viewed by other players within the league? And have you seen a change in that perception over the past few years? (MJL)

Fulham has a good history in the game. Everyone looks at Fulham and thinks the team plays good football and tries to play the right way - the way I like the game to be played. I've always looked at Fulham and admired the way they go about their business. It's a good traditional club and I'm pleased to be a part of it.

What football team did you support as a lad? (Putney White)

I'm going to have to say two. Leyton Orient, where I came through as a youngster and Arsenal.

What kind of music do you like? (Jonah McGowan)

A complete variation. I couldn't pinpoint any one style - I'm not fussed.

Why did you choose Nottingham Forest as a short term loan option and not a Premier League club after your initial move from Villa? (David Preston)

At the time I could have gone to another Premier League club but I didn't feel like that was the right move at the time. Then the window closed to go to a Premier League club so I had to go to a Championship club - that was the only route I had. Nottingham Forest were very interested and I've got to be honest, I probably wouldn't be here at Fulham if it wasn't for Forest giving me an opportunity to go and play games.

I'll be forever thankful to them; I really enjoyed my time there with Billy Davies. I was looking forward to going back there until Fulham came in and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to join. When you're not playing, you just want to be playing games. I had no worries about dropping down a division to play games - the most important thing is to be playing.

What advice would you give to youngsters wanting to be professional footballers? (C@rme99)

Just learn your trade, make sure you work hard and give it everything you've got. As long as you work hard and give it your best shot you can't have any regrets. Make sure you listen and learn from other people in the game.

I remember when I was coming through the youth team, we had to clean the toilets, the stands and everything like that. I think it was the best grounding I could have had.

When I became a professional I really appreciated that fact that I didn't have to do those things. I think they should go back to that. At some clubs youngsters don't even have to clean boots these days, which is ridiculous. To be fair, at the time I hated it. But now I see that it gave me a good grounding.

Nicky, I saw you play two games for England at Wembley - versus Germany and Brazil if I recall correctly. How did you find the England/Wembley experience? And do you still have hopes of a recall by Fabio? I thought you had a couple of decent games. (Roy Simmons)

That was the pinnacle of my career. Playing for your country and doing it while you're playing for a club like Reading, that has only just got up to the Premiership. People say that you don't get those opportunities when you're playing for a 'less fashionable club' - so it was nice that I got that opportunity.

It's hard to describe the feeling, standing there with the national anthem playing and your family watching. It's the best feeling I've ever had on the football pitch. I really enjoyed it and I'd love to experience it again but that's down to other people. Football is all about opinions and you've just got to keep working hard. I'm just concentrating on trying to do well for Fulham and see where that takes me.

Is Rob Earnshaw as great a man as he is a footballer? (James Alexander Tizzard)

He's a great lad. I've got nothing but good words to say about him. He just loves life and he loves his football. I wish all the lads at Forest all the best because they're a great group and I hope they do it this season.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2010, 06:35:53 AM »
Next One Up: Sunderland

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News   

Sunderland v Fulham, Barclays Premier League

Sunday February 28th 2010, KO 3pm.   

Fulham return to Barclays Premier League action this Sunday when they take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

We have visited the Stadium of Light on five previous occasions, but our only victory to date came in September 2002, when Junichi Inamoto was amongst the scorers in a 3-0 win. Last season the only goal of the game came from Kenwyne Jones 10 minutes after the break in a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Sunderland returned to the top-flight after a one-year absence in 2007, and have struggled in both subsequent seasons, finishing 16th last term.

In attempt to breathe new life, the club enticed Steve Bruce back to his native north east last summer, replacing caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia. And the Black Cats got off to a moderate start to the new campaign before hitting some excellent form in the autumn with goals flowing freely. Hull were hammered 4-1 at the Stadium of Light and Wolves left a few weeks later on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline. Only a late Anton Ferdinand own goal cost them a memorable victory at Old Trafford too, but there was better luck in the home game against Liverpool when a stray beach ball was awarded an assist to Darren Bent’s winning goal.

Subsequently form has not been as hot with little to cheer following a home victory over Arsenal in mid-November. This included an astonishing 7-2 defeat at Chelsea as well as a 1-0 reverse here at the Cottage.

Three January recruits were added to attempt to bring more consistency: Defenders Matt Killgallon and Alan Hutton from Sheffield United and Tottenham respectively, as well as striker Benjani from Manchester City.

Stadium Details:
- Address: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 1SU
- Telephone: 0191 551 5000
- Capacity: 48,300
- Visitors Sections: Metro FM (South) Stand
- Disabled Fans: South Stand 

Getting There: 
(Approximately 275 miles from SW6)

Depart Motspur Park 7am / Craven Cottage 7.30am
Season Ticket Holders / Fulham Members’ Club: Adults £20, Juniors £10
Non-Season Ticket Holders/Members: Adults £25, Juniors £18

By Road
Leave London via M1 and continue to end. Join A1(M) North until junction 49 then follow signs for Teesside onto A168 which becomes the A19. After 51 miles exit at junction with A1231 (signs Sunderland). At fifth roundabout take third exit into Queens Road (B1289) which becomes Kier Hardie Way. Turn right at next roundabout into Stadium Way. Ground is on the right.

Car Parking
A Park and Ride scheme is available for both home and away supporters from the Sunderland Enterprise Park which is signposted from the A1231. Street parking is also available and there are a number of Pay and Display car parks in the Town Centre across the Wearmouth Bridge.

By Rail
Train travel on the day of the game is just about possible although it may require more than one change of train. Travel is from Kings Cross to Newcastle, then by Metro to the Stadium of Light Station which is close to the ground. You are strongly advised to check times prior to travelling. 

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2010, 06:37:28 AM »
Playing to Our Strengths

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Dickson Etuhu summed up the mood in the dressing room as one of jubilation on Thursday evening after Fulham recorded a memorable UEFA Europa League victory over UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar Donetsk.

“It’s a dream come true,” he enthused. “A lot of people didn’t think we could do it, but we always knew that if we worked hard and kept our organisation we would cause them problems, and things worked out for us, so now we look forward to the next game.”

Dickson played a key role in the centre of midfield, on the frontline of two defensive banks that worked tirelessly to keep Shakhtar’s creative attackers at bay. It required 90 minutes of total concentration, tracking and interceptions, but it was nothing that the Nigerian powerhouse isn’t accustomed to.

“They’re a great team – anyone can see that, but we’re not an easy team to play against either,” he assessed. “We’re used to playing against the best teams in the world like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, so we were well prepared and came with a game plan.

“The gaffer prepared us to deal with their pressure and hopefully everybody saw that. We’re lucky because we’ve got great coaches at the Club who help us to play to our strengths against these teams.”

Next up for Fulham’s European heroes is a Round of 16 tie with Juventus in a fortnight’s time, but, as Dickson points out, with Premier League and FA Cup fixtures to come before then, there is plenty else to prepare for before the meeting with the Italian giants.

“We’re excited and enjoying the moment now, not thinking about the next game yet,” he said. “Before Juventus comes Sunderland away on Sunday in the league, our bread and butter, and the most important thing. So we’re happy, we’ll enjoy this, but tomorrow we’ll move on.”

The two-legged Round of 16 provides yet another spectacle in what is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in Fulham Football Club history. A solid campaign in the top half of the Premier League, coupled with progress to the latter stages of two major cup competitions is success to savour, and the games are coming thick and fast in a season that just keeps on giving.

“It’s crazy,” he exclaimed. “I only got back from the African Nations two-and-a-half weeks ago and I’ve played six games already. But it’s good to be back in the thick of things and playing every week – or every three days.

“We’re all enjoying it and long may it continue.”

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2010, 06:40:21 AM »

Match Preview: Sunderland v Fulham

5:39pm Friday 26th February 2010

By Scott Wilson »

Hutton Turner Mensah McCartney
Malbranque Cana Cattermole Richardson
Bent Jones

Duff Etuhu Murphy Davies
Shorey Baird Hangeland Hughes

Sunderland subs (from): Bardsley, Ferdinand, Benjani, Campbell, Carson, Da
Silva, Zenden, Noble.
Fulham subs (from): Smalling, Riise, Zuberbuhler, Greening, Nevland, Elm,
Kelly, Stoor.

SUNDERLAND: Steve Bruce has Lee Cattermole back from suspension and he is likely to revert back to his preferred 4-4-2 formation. That is likely to mean Darren Bent partners Kenwyne Jones in attack, with Steed Malbranque recalled to the right wing at the expense of Fraizer Campbell. John Mensah is also fit enough to play, despite his ongoing back problems.
Suspensions: Meyler 2
Injuries: Reid (hamstring), Henderson (ankle)
Leading league scorer: Bent 16
Last five League games: LDDDL
Next game: Bolton (h), 9/2

FULHAM: England hopeful Bobby Zamora is a doubt after picking up an Achilles injury playing in the Europa League. Andrew Johnson, Clint Dempsey and John Pantsil are also out, but cup-tied duo Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka may return. Okaka is the likely candidate to slot in for Zamora.
Suspensions: None
Injuries: Dikgacoi (ankle), Johnson (knee), Konchesky (ankle), Dempsey (knee), Zamora (Achilles), Pantsil (knee)
Leading league scorer: Zamora 8
Last five League games: WWDWL
Key player: Damien Duff - the former Newcastle winger has been rejuvenated in West London.

Last season: 1-0
Head to head: Sunderland 20, Fulham 14, draws 13
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Halifax) G35 Y137 R4 Av: 4.02
Last Sunderland game: v Everton (h) 26/12/09, 1-1, Y4 R0
Odds: H 11/10; A5/2; D23/10

It's a fact: Sunderland have only lost once to Fulham on Wearside soil in 35 years.
Comment by Scott Wilson: This is as big as they come but Fulham will not be making life easy.
Prediction: 1-1

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2010, 06:42:59 AM »

My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham at Sunderland

There is no rest for Fulham this weekend. They will be travelling to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Sunday. The kickoff for the match is 3PM UK time and 10AM EST. The game will actually be shown on tape delay on Fox Soccer Soccer Channel in the United States at noon EST. Sunderland currently sit 14th in the League with 26 points. Fulham are currently 9th with 37 points.

Roy Hogdson and Fulham need to figure out a way to get another away win. Sunderland will again be desperate for a win as they want to get as far away from the relegation zone as possible. The question is what kind of shape and lineup will be on display for Fulham on Sunday? Below I will have my "5 keys to victory for Fulham."

1. Bobby Zamora is doubtful for the match so who will step up to take his place at striker. Zamora picked up an Achilles injury in the Europa League match. Who will Roy use at striker. I am hoping David Elm will get a shot at striker. To me he deserves another chance to show his ability. He seems to have a good touch up front. This striker position will be key on Sunday.

2. The return of Nicky Shorey is important for the defense. As I stated prior I think Nicky Shorey has been impressive on defense. Stephen Kelly was very good in the last match. This is nothing against Kelly. Shorey just gives Fulham a defender who can push the ball up better and is more natural at the position.

3. Fulham desperately need to score the first goal. Fulham have struggled so much on the road I think they need to play from ahead the majority of the match. If they can get off to a fast start they can dictate the game to Sunderland. Again, they are playing a desperate side right now. Zoltan Gera has been very good lately. I would not be surprised to see him score a goal early in the match.

4. Hogdson should use some fresh legs in this match. After a grueling match in the Ukraine a key will be how Hogdson uses his lineup. I already stated I think David Elm and Nicky Shorey should start. At some point during the match it might be good to use Jonathan Greening and Bjorn Helge Riise in midfield. Players like Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu might need some rest. They have worked very hard lately. I also would not be against Stephen Kelly coming in to spell someone on defense.

5. It is important to push the ball up to the strikers. Fulham always seem to be at their best when the defenders are pushing the ball up the pitch. Fulham need to dictate the pace of the match. Nicky Shorey has been great so far in moving the ball up. Fulham need to play like they are at Craven Cottage which is more aggressive.

Fulham are coming off of a grueling schedule lately. Sunderland on the road is game they need to win. If they want to move higher up the table Fulham need to win these games on the road. Let's hope our good form continues on Sunday.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2010, 06:46:37 AM »

Roy Hodgson Shows His Class

by Niall Owens 

Contributor Written on February 26, 2010

On the 28th of December 2007 the forgotten man of English management returned to to the Premier League, and what a difference he has made.

Roy Hodgson, the twice former manager of Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, and the Swiss national side, took up his role as Fulham boss with his side facing a certain relegation and years of struggle trying to get back up into the top tier.

He came into Craven Cottage determined that the club would stay up and was proven right on the final day of the season when club captain Danny Murphy's goal in a 1-0 away win at Portsmouth ensured they would stay up.

They had gone into the last few games looking as if they would go down and but won three games in a row for the first time in the club's top flight history and since then Hogdson's men have continued to amaze the world of football.

On the 16th of December 2009 Fulham headed to Basel a country Hodgson knew well in all his years of management, knowing only a win would see them into the knock out stage of the Europa League.

A fantastic performance inspired by Bobby Zamora's two goals ensured their passage but bad news came in the draw a few days later when they were to face UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar Donetsk but the confidence in the Fulham camp was obvious with goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer saying: "anything's possible."

Last week they made the perfect start against the holders when Zoltan Gera put his side in front after only three minutes at the Cottage, Donetsk had not played since their final group game because of the end of season break in the Ukraine but as proven last year the break was of benefit to them as they leveled just before the break through Luiz Adriano.

Bobby Zamora fired home a wonder goal just past the hour mark to notch up what was a famous victory for the Londoners. But surely the away goal they conceded meant their task in the Ukraine was going to be too much for them.

As they made their way onto the pitch last night in what was an intimidating atmosphere as England had experienced in their recent World Cup Qualifying defeat in the autumn, Fulham knew it was the David versus Goliath tie.

They were brave and kept their heads as the home side began well and battered the Fulham defence with Schwarzer pulling off a string of great stops, but with the skill and flair of Damien Duff and Zoltan Gera Fulham knew they had the chance to get the vital away goal.

And it came ten minutes from half time when the defensive rock Brede Hangeland headed home and all of a sudden the whole of Europe took notice. Unlike with youngster Chris Smalling, who is leaving to join Manchester United in the summer, Fulham have managed to keep a hold of Hangeland. But after a performance of this magnitude a lot of clubs will be sniffing around come the opening of the window.

Although the home side equalised with 20 minutes to play Fulham hung on to what is their greatest achievement in European football, and Hodgson was quick to praise the spirit and the belief of his side:

"We put in an enormous amount of work, trained a lot and the result shows it wasn't in vain," said the 62-year-old. "I wouldn't rule out that at the end of my coaching days I will name this match as the best in my career."

At the end of last season Hodgson had come on record as saying he had the tough task of calming expectations down at the club and ensured that Premier League survival was of paramount importance, but after their late show against Birmingham City saw them move into nineth and on 37 points they have their safety assured.

They take on Sunderland in the league on Sunday, but then have a home FA Cup quarter final tie against Tottenham the following weekend and then take on Italian giants Juventus a side Hodgson knows well over two legs sandwiched with a league game against Manchester United.

The other 15 teams Liverpool aside will not have heard much about Fulham but they will have done now and do not be suprised if their fairytale run continues as they face a Juventus side in all sorts of turmoil in the next round. 

Fulham have nothing to lose as for Juventus it is the opposite and once again Fulham fans can rely on a fantastic team spirit Hodgson has instilled at Craven Cottage to ensure they can run the Italians all the way.

As for the rest of the season they have a genuine chance of winning the FA Cup and will hold no fears in the Europa League as has been proved. And as for the league, as said earlier, with survival an almost certainty they can play with no pressure as they find themselves only eight points of Europa league qualification and nine off the top four.

Hodgson is one of the nicest men in world football and is a genuine footballing man and he is dying breed in our game today with managers now being media driven and money mad. Sir Alex Ferguson regards him as one of his closest friends in management and a top boss and who is argue with that?

Let's all sit back and enjoy how he gets the best out of side week after week because it is a dying art in this modern football world.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2010, 06:49:01 AM »

Striking options for Sunday?

by Dan on February 26, 2010

It’s clear that Bobby Zamora’s a doubt for Sunday. I doubt Roy Hodgson would have brought him off last night had he not been struggling and, furthermore, Achilles injuries aren’t the most easy things in the world to get over, least of all in two days.

In the event that Bobby doesn’t make the Sunderland game, David Elm would seem to be next in line. The Swede didn’t let anyone down in Donetsk and arguably added a bit more vibrancy to Fulham’s attack once he came on. Elm’s been a lot more impressive in his brief run in the side that a few people expected and deserves a chance to show what he can do. I would be worried that someone of his height would become an easy out ball and get a little too isolated, especially if Hodgson persists with 4-4-1-1.

The alternative is to pair Elm with Erik Nevland, who hasn’t appeared in the first team for a little while, and revert to a 4-4-2. That would mean finding a place for Zoltan Gera in midfield, which might be worthwhile as one of the wide players might be due a rest after their hard work last night, or leaving the Hungarian out altogether. It’s more a question of shape than personnel and it will be interesting to see what Roy decides to do.

UPDATE: Ed in the comments raises the very valid point of Stefano Okaka, who I initially neglected only because I feel Hodgson sees him as something of a work in progress – a late substitute who could fashion a chance against a tiring defence. Perhaps he’ll spring a surprise and play the Italian from the start.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2010, 06:52:13 AM »

Squad sheets: Sunderland v Fulham, Friday 26 February 2010 19.45

Steve Bruce trusts Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday plus Sunderland tomorrow will add up to fatigue for Fulham. Relieved that Roy Hodgson is likely to be without key striker Bobby Zamora, Sunderland's suddenly threatened manager aims to choreograph a first league win in 14 games. Bruce has demanded his team effect an "180 degree turn" and start "looking up the table". Brave words but should they fail to beat a Fulham side bound to be at least a little tired by Europa League exertions in Ukraine their manager's job security will be called into serious question. Louise Taylor

Venue Stadium of Light

Tickets £10-27 (0871 911 1973)

Last season Sunderland 1 Fulham 0

Referee M Atkinson

This season's matches 21 Y86, R3, 4.24 cards per game

Odds Sunderland 5-4 Fulham 13-5 Draw 23-10

 Probable starters in bold, contenders in light. Photograph: Graphic Sunderland
Subs from Fulop, Carson, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Malbranque, Zenden, Benjani, R Noble, L Noble, Reed, Liddle

Doubtful None

Injured Henderson (ankle, 6 Mar), Reid (hamstring, 6 Mar),

Suspended Meyler (second of three)

Form guide LDDDLL

Disciplinary record Y47 R1

Leading scorer Bent 15

Subs from Zuberbühler, Smalling, Kelly, Stoor, Teymourian, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Zamora, Elm, Nevland

Doubtful Konchesky (ankle), Zamora (achilles)

Injured Dikgacoi (ankle, 14 Mar), Dempsey (knee, Apr), Paintsil (knee, Apr), A Johnson (knee, May)

Suspended None

Form guide WWDWLL

Disciplinary record Y29 R1

Leading scorer Zamora 8

Match pointers

• Fulham have failed to win in 12 Premier League matches away from home

• Darren Bent has been caught offside more times (40) than any other player in the top flight

• Bobby Zamora's first four league goals this season were all scored in the first half and the last four have all come after the break

• Sunderland have picked up the most yellow cards this season (56) while Fulham have the fewest (29)

• If selected, Fredrik Stoor will be playing for Fulham on his 26th birthday

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2010, 06:57:34 AM »

Murphy: Kon can fill gap


Published: Today
DANNY MURPHY has backed Paul Konchesky to fill England's gaping hole at left-back.
Fulham skipper Murphy rates his team-mate second only to Ashley Cole - regardless of Wayne Bridge's decision to quit international football.

Konchesky, 28, is close to recovery from a knee injury and may even travel with the squad to Sunderland for tomorrow's Premier League match.

Midfielder Murphy said: "Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the world.

"But, if he's not fit, it's irrelevant whether Wayne Bridge changes his mind or whatever.

"I've played a couple of years with Konch and, if he can get himself fit and flying, there's no better left-back because he's a great defender.

"He's quick, no one does him for pace, he's good on one-on-ones and he's a really good passer.

"I don't see a better left-back than Konchesky out there other than Cole.

"People talk about Stevie Warnock, who's a terrific player I was with at Liverpool. He has great potential but he hasn't got the pace Konchesky's got.

"At international level, that pace is crucial."

Konchesky has two caps but has not played for England since 2005.

He has been one of Fulham's most consistent performers this season.

But the ex-West Ham and Charlton defender has been blighted by injury - linked to an on-going knee problem and the added workload of Fulham's Europa League success.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2010, 07:05:26 AM »


27th February 2010

By Ian Murtagh

Kieran Richardson ­admits he hadn’t ­envisaged a scenario like the one Sunderland are caught up in – even in his worst nightmares.

Steve Bruce’s Sunderland entertain Fulham tomorrow – the first of four ­successive games at the Stadium of Light – in search of their first league win since November 21.

Richardson does not need reminding that if the Black Cats’ form over the past 10 weeks is repeated over the next 10, they will be relegated.

The midfielder said: “This is my third season at Sunderland and it’s fair to stay we ­struggled in the last two.

“I never imagined it would be the same again. It never even entered my head, considering the squad we’ve got now.

“We made a great start, we were flying, and all of us thought, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a great ­season’.

“Then we hit a rough patch that none of us really saw coming.’’

Richardson was not alone in ­believing the Black Cats were in line for their best campaign since Peter Reid was in charge after they beat Liverpool and Arsenal on home soil and were seconds away from ­winning at Old Trafford.

Though Bruce tried to dampen ­expectations, the ex-­Manchester United star reveals that even in the dressing room there was talk of a top-six finish.

“At the start of the season, when we were winning, everyone was saying, ‘Yeah, Europe’s on. Definitely’.

“And now results have turned and people are talking about relegation.

“What’s happened this season is upsetting because I’ve had so much faith in this team, the players, the coaches and the manager.

“When I look at the table, it really hurts because we should not be down there.

“But I can say all I want. The fact is the table does not lie and now it’s all about launching our ­revival.

“It only takes one win and then everyone’s heads will lift and we will be looking upwards again.’’

Sunderland have actually drawn five of their last eight matches and, but for goals conceded in the last 10 minutes recently, would be as close to the top six as the bottom three.

But Richardson, who has been played in a variety of roles this term, is convinced they can rediscover their spark as quickly as they lost it.

He added: “There are still 11 games left and who knows, if we put a ­really good run together, we can still finish in the top 10. We are more than capable of doing that. We have got to take advantage of these four home games.

“It was awful going into the last game of last season knowing we could go down – and we don’t want to go through that again.

“With the quality in this squad, I really don’t think we will be in that predicament again.

“But unless we start winning soon, then it will be like that again.’’