Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)  (Read 7053 times)

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2010, 12:07:03 PM »

Fulham FC - are they Europe's most improved club?

Betting Press Staff - 22 Mar 2010

Fulham were on the brink of relegation when Roy Hodgson arrived at the club just over two years ago.

Now they're in the last eight of the Europa League. Feizal Rahman discusses the rise and rise of the Cottagers.

In 1996, whilst the mighty Juventus were claiming a Champions League trophy, Fulham were at an all-time low - finishing 17th in the old Division Three. Fourteen years on and the small family club of West London dramatically edge the Italian behemoth out of the Europa League.

The Cottagers are now backed by a millionaire owner who funded their rise to the Premier League , while the once all-powerful Old Lady is now looking to be on her last legs. But the achievement for Fulham in beating a side which includes four World Cup winners is commendable all the same, more so for the manner in which they did it.

Even two seasons ago, such a scenario would have been fantasy as with just 14 points from 19 games, the West Londoners were on the brink of the drop from the top flight. But the arrival of Roy Hodgson saw the club's fortunes do an about turn and five wins in their last eight games were enough to survive, if only by the finest of margins.

So the progression from relegation fodder to seventh place last season must rank Fulham as pound for pound the most improved club in England, if not Europe. Outperforming both Manchester City and Tottenham with their far superior financial clout, Hodgson made shrewd signings in Brede Hangeland, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff - each for under £5m - while Mark Schwarzer and Zoltan Gera cost nothing.

The once maligned Bobby Zamora has soared to previously unimagined heights and with 12 goals so far this season has been touted for a surprise call up to the England World Cup squad. USA international Clint Dempsey, who scored the sublime winner against Juventus, has also excelled under Hodgson, providing crucial goals in key games and will be a danger to England in South Africa.

But it's the team spirit at Craven Cottage that allows for the sum to be greater than its individual parts. The style in which Fulham play can serve as a shining example for other small English clubs who choose to operate in a more primitive manner for less return.

That Hodgson has crafted such success for Fulham, not just at home but also abroad, should not be of real surprise. The well-travelled Londoner has managed throughout the continent and his familiarity with the European game that has served his club well.

Comfortably above the relegation scrap, Fulham still find themselves in two cup competitions. The Cottagers are 3.55 to overcome Tottenham away in the FA Cup on Wednesday night and set up a semi-final appearance at Wembley against Portsmouth (Fulham are 15.5 to win FA Cup). But trading at 12.0 outsiders to go all the way in the Europa League, could they have peaked too soon?

By its very nature the Europa League is less competitive than the Champions League and British clubs can progress to the final, as with Rangers and Middlesbrough in the last four seasons. Fulham have already brushed aside tournament favourites Liverpool (5.0 to win) 3-1 at home in the league.

Quarter-final opponents Wolfsburg and potential semi-final adversaries Hamburg are both struggling in the Bundesliga to secure a European spot for next season. In the other half of the draw, Spanish giants Valencia and Atletico Madrid (6.6 and 10.0 to win Europa League respectively) are miles behind Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga and are defensively suspect.

Fulham have already gone beyond what can reasonably be expected from a club of their standing and Hodgson did claim after the Juventus win that it can't get any better. But, having come so far on their Europa League journey, perhaps his message should be don't stop believing.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2010, 12:08:14 PM »

How an EPL Club Can Conquer America In 7 Easy Steps

by The Gaffer on March 22, 2010 · 2 comments

There is talk that Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur could be playing friendlies in the United States this summer. It’s music to my ears and I’m sure many other soccer fans in America. But while teams in the past such as Chelsea, Everton and others have tried to conquer the States, they all have come up short so far and haven’t maximized the level of success that’s possible.

When you think about it, which Premier League club is America’s team? There are large numbers of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal fans. And definitely sizable numbers of Tottenham, Chelsea and Leeds United supporters. But no one team has blown the roof off America. All of the above teams have medium to high levels of support, but none of them can claim to be “America’s team.”

The closest you’ll find to “America’s team,” not in the number of supporters but in how loyal their fans are despite being smaller clubs, are Fulham and Everton. But even they haven’t been able to figure out the secret to success in breaking wide open in America.

So, here’s my blueprint for Premier League teams if they want to conquer America:

Sign top American talent. There are large numbers of soccer fans in the United States who haven’t picked a Premier League team to follow yet. Or, if they have, their loyalty to that team can easily change if another team became more attractive for particular reasons. For Premier League clubs trying to break through in America, it’s imperative that these clubs have one or more Americans on their team.While Chelsea has had massive crowds come out to their games in the States, they would have been more popular if they had an American in their squad. As an example, remember how much Oguchi Onyewu was cheered when he was substituted on for AC Milan last summer and how loud the crowd was whenever he touched the ball. Also take note of the attention that Everton has achieved because of Landon Donovan’s loan deal at the club. Last but not least, consider how much impact an American has when he achieves something wonderful in England. While not everyone is a Fulham supporter, you only had to browse the message forums and blogs to see what impact Clint Dempsey’s wondergoal against Juventus had on soccer fans in the U.S.A. last week.
Play top American talent. It’s one thing to sign American players, but it’s another thing to play them quite often. This definitely is dependent on the American player — to make sure that he deserves to be playing when he’s on form — but it’s also very dependent on a manager who is open to American players. For example, former Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez seemed reluctant to play Americans who were at Craven Cottage during his short stay there.
Play attractive free-flowing soccer. When Wigan Athletic played their first season in the Premier League during 2005-06, they won over large amounts of American fans because of their attacking style of football that continually put opponents on the back foot. The underdog angle was also a big reason why Wigan won over a lot of American fans that season. For the most part, Americans want to see entertaining soccer and lots of goals. Catenaccio is not something most Americans enjoy.
Tour the North American cities that will make a difference. Too often in the past, Premier League clubs have toured America but played in the wrong cities. When a club has an opportunity to play 3-4 games, it needs to make sure that it maximizes the impact of playing in those cities. Take Everton, for example. In recent years, they’ve played in North American cities including Salt Lake City (in the horrid Rice-Eccles Stadium), Edmonton and at the Home Depot Center for a low-key friendly in front of 100 spectators. To me, those opportunities were wasted. Although, to be fair, the club is not as big as it is now that Donovan played for them. But whether it’s Everton or any other Premier League club, the cities the club plays in is vital. New York, Los Angeles and Seattle are now must-visits. Chicago and Toronto are included in the next wave.
Don’t expect overnight success. Too many Premier League clubs expect overnight success in the United States. It takes hard work and persistence as well as tours over a few summers before a team can unlock the success in this country. Chelsea is going about it the right way by playing in the States every couple of seasons. Manchester United and Liverpool haven’t played here in years but may expect overnight success when it isn’t possible.
Hire a US media specialist. Unless you’re Garry Cook and you know how different the US media is, it’s vital that Premier League clubs hire expert PR specialists to make sure the media experience in the States is different than the UK. The US media expects to get more access to players than the UK media. Interviews are crucial and it’s vital that clubs make players available to the media such as radio, local television and the press so they can help sell the game to the general public. If Premier League clubs act like they do in the UK, they’ll have a tough time winning over the media.
Keep the United States in your plans all year long. When a tour of the United States is over, Premier League clubs return to England and focus on their season but they often don’t think about the States anymore until the following summer. But for soccer fans in the States, they eat, live and breathe soccer 365 days a year. Even during the season, Premier League clubs need to do a better job at marketing themselves and communicating with their soccer audience in the States (and other countries) by conducting interviews with key media outlets rather than completely ignoring them.
If Premier League clubs are truly committed to becoming popular in the United States, they need to focus on these seven easy steps and I’m confident it will happen. The struggle thus far has been that teams have only done some but not all of the steps.

Manchester City has taken it one step further by having talks with MLS commissioner Don Garber regarding starting its own MLS franchise in America. I honestly don’t think that’s the solution to being successful in the States since EPL clubs are on television more often than MLS ones are. But if you have a ton of money to spend, it can’t do any harm.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2010, 12:09:43 PM »,19528,11679_6044992,00.html

City punish flat Fulham

Blues beat Cottagers to boost hope of Champions League spot

By Ben Collins   

Last updated: 21st March 2010   

Man of the Match: Kolo Toure was colossal at the centre of City's makeshift defence on his return to the side following injury.

Goal of the Match: City claimed both goals on the break, with the second a flowing move starting with Pablo Zabaleta. Carlos Tevez then played it wide for Craig Bellamy and the in-form City striker took the return ball to turn Chris Smalling and produce a neat finish beyond Mark Schwarzer.

Save of the Match: Mark Schwarzer's second-half save to turn away Roque Santa Cruz's 20-yard strike.

Talking Point: The dubious penalty decision against Gareth Barry could have cost City dear but referee Lee Probert made the right call by ruling Vincent Kompany's late handball in the box was not deliberate.

Manchester City stepped up their bid for a fourth-placed finish after claiming a 2-1 win at Fulham.

The Blues were in control at half-time after Roque Santa Cruz's seventh-minute opener was followed by Carlos Tevez's 22nd goal of the season in the 36th minute.

City looked assured despite the late withdrawal of defender Joleon Lescott, with Fulham lacking the energy to break down the Blues following their famous Europa League win over Juventus on Thursday.

But the visitors were left hanging on after Danny Murphy converted a 75th-minute penalty to give the Cottagers hope of snatching a point.

Mid-table Fulham also showed they had an eye on Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay as Roy Hodgson took off both Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera early in the second half.

It was a timely win for Roberto Mancini's men following Liverpool's defeat at Manchester United earlier, with the three points taking City above the Reds into fifth place, back within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.

Having already decided to make two changes in defence, Mancini was forced into a reshuffle as Lescott suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up.

Left-back Javier Garrido was drafted in, with Kolo Toure returning in the centre of defence alongside Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta dropping back to right-back.

Mancini's makeshift defence was protected well by Gareth Barry and Patrick Vieira, who made his first start since serving his three-match ban.

Fulham fans were still buzzing from their memorable victory over Juve and almost had more to sing about as Zamora headed back Damien Duff's cross for Gera to steer over City keeper Shay Given but Toure acrobatically cleared off the line.

The visitors then broke through Tevez, who laid the ball wide right for Craig Bellamy and although his deflected shot hit a post, the rebound bounced over keeper Mark Schwarzer for the recalled Santa Cruz to poke home his fourth goal in an injury-hit season.

It was also the Paraguayan striker's first under Mancini, who was rewarded for fielding an attacking line-up against a team that had only lost once at home since September.

Tevez twice tested Schwarzer from just outside the box before capping another City counter-attack to double City's lead nine minutes before the break.

Zabaleta fed Tevez on halfway and the Argentina striker nut-megged Murphy before finding Bellamy on the left and Tevez took his return pass to turn inside Chris Smalling and produce a neat finish from 10 yards.

Although Fulham looked more lively when Clint Dempsey and Stefano Okaka came on just after the break, City almost sealed victory as Santa Cruz tested Schwarzer from Adam Johnson's pass and Johnson then cut in from the right to fire against the outside of the far post.

Bellamy was also found by Johnson and he chested the ball down before firing narrowly wide.

The hosts were given hope when Barry attempted to chest down Chris Baird's right-wing cross and the referee's assistant felt it was handled by the England midfielder.

Murphy stroked the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner, with Given diving the other way, before City substitutes Nigel de Jong and Shaun Wright-Phillips missed chances to seal victory on the break.

Okaka fired wide with the best chance for an equaliser and referee Lee Probert turned down a strong penalty shout against Kompany, deeming his handball was not deliberate.
Team Statistics
Manchester City

1 Goals

0 1st Half Goals

2 Shots on Target

5 Shots off Target

5 Blocked Shots

4 Corners

8 Fouls

5 Offsides

0 Yellow Cards

0 Red Cards

77.6 Passing Success

17 Tackles

64.7 Tackles Success

53.3 Possession

53.7 Territorial Advantage

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2010, 12:10:51 PM »

Hodgson: Away form hampering Fulham

9:59am Monday 22nd March 2010

By Simon Fitzjohn »

Roy Hodgson admits Fulham have to learn how to win on the road if they are ever to break into the elite bracket in the Premier League.

The Cottagers head to Hull City this weekend on the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

And with just one away win, at doomed Portsmouth on the opening day of the season, to their credit this campaign, Hodgson agrees that has to change.

He said: “We have not won as many games from home as we would have liked, that is for sure.

“In many ways it is a good job our home form is so good.

“We have lost games at home this season so it is not exactly a fortress, but until we get our away form sorted it is something we are having to rely on.”

Sunday’s setback was all down to a first-half display that saw City score twice, leaving Danny Murphy’s late penalty a mere footnote.

But Hodgson was quick to dismiss talk of burnout after last Thursday’s Europa League heroics against Juventus.

He added: “We have been handed a very quick dose of reality.

“But the truth is we are always stressing the need to face the facts and nobody gets ahead of themselves.

“I do not think we can use the Juventus game as any sort of excuse.

“I did not think we were out-run or out-powered, it was just a case of being caught on the counter-attack.

“I thought we improved noticeably in the second-half and thought that we warranted a draw, but it was not to be.”

The Cottagers are hoping to book a Wembley date on Wednesday night when they travel to Tottenham for their FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Fulham’s next three matches: Mar 27 Hull City (a), Apr 1 Wolfsburg (EL, h), 8 Wolfsburg (EL, a)

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2010, 12:12:17 PM »

Football transfer rumours: Roy Hodgson to Liverpool?

Today's waffle will be buying one of those 99p flags and sticking it on their car this summer

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Gregg Roughley,

Monday 22 March 2010 10.06 GMT

Is Roy Hodgson pondering taking on a Europa League campaign at Anfield? Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images

Not since the Mirror trumpeted news that Prince Charles had put his full royal weight behind the British jam industry has the Mill seen such a half-hearted attempt to reinvigorate a Buy British campaign.

But if the back pages of today's papers are to be believed then Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City could soon be jostling in line to get their grubby mits on the Croydon-raised slab of meat that is the Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson.

Apparently, Hodgson along with Everton's David Moyes, Birmingham's Alex McLeish and Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill is flying the flag for Britain and showing those rubbish foreigners such as Rafael Benítez and Carlo Ancelotti, who've never won a ... oh hang on – only won three European Cups between them, how to manage a football club.

After Liverpool's defeat at Old Trafford yesterday, it's expected that Hodgson may be plotting Europa League success at Anfield soon, but don't believe anything you read in the Mill, so there.

The other bit of British expected to turn up at market this summer is Joe Cole, who at the unsightly age of 28 – and with a bald head à la Julian Dicks – is shot, caput, over the hill and only good for a west London knacker's yard. Unless Manchester United do the charitable thing and rescue him from Chelsea.

But one man not towing the line and doing his bit for Blighty is the traitorous Big Sam Allardyce. The Blackburn manager has been spotted winking provocatively at a 24-year-old Egyptian playmaker by the name of Shikabala. He's 6ft 1in tall, plays for Zamalek SC and is a bit handy by all accounts. Well, Wikipedia says so anyway.

And Roma may throw an inflatable in the direction of Nadir Belhadj and rescue him from the sinking ship that is Portsmouth FC for £2m. Or they'll let him tread water for a bit and then watch him drown. They are nasty foreigners after all.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2010, 12:13:30 PM »

Smalling eager to impress Ferguson with "dauphinoise potatoes"

Author:  Ben Moss

Posted on:22 March 2010

Manchester United’s new signing Chris Smalling claims the chance to play under Sir Alex Ferguson was the instrumental factor behind him choosing to move to the Premier League champions rather than Arsenal FC, despite being a Gunners fan. The Fulham FC youngster will move to Old Trafford in the summer, and while he is nervous about leaving his family behind in London, he is hopeful his ability in the kitchen will make the transition easier.

In an interview in the Sunday Times, the England Under-21 star claims he had a gut instinct the moment he met the Manchester United boss, and although there was strong interest from Arsenal, the former Maidstone United starlet believes the opportunity to work with the most decorated manager in British football history was too good to turn down.

Smalling will head up to Manchester United in June, and although it means leaving his family behind, the Fulham youngster is confident he will cope in their absence, not least because he revealed himself to be quite the budding chef.

When asked what he would cook the Manchester United manager, the former Arsenal FC target told the Sunday Times: “Erm, I’d do a bit of lamb, some dauphinoise potatoes.”

“Though I’d probably want a bit of help from my mum so I could really impress him (Sir Alex Ferguson).”

On a more serious note, Smalling suggested his first meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson was a nervy occasion for the 20-year-old, not least because he was unsure what to call the esteemed Manchester United manager.

Smalling said: “I was nervous, thinking, do you say ‘Alex’ or ‘Sir Alex’, but he quickly got the conversation going.”

“It did feel a bit unreal.”

“A man who’s produced so many players and won so many trophies is sitting there talking to me. I never thought that would happen when I was at Maidstone or even a year ago in Fulham’s reserves.”

Smalling concluded: “Hopefully by training and playing with those players (at United) I’ll learn how to handle it.”

“My approach is I go there as a new player and need to get to know the staff and what they want, and the price tag will go to the back of my mind.”

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2010, 12:14:33 PM »

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2010, 12:15:37 PM »
Through The Ranks

Monday 22nd March 2010

Fulham FC News

Through The Ranks:
Name: Christopher Buchtmann
Position: Midfielder
Age: 17
Height: 174cm
Weight: 71.3


The signing of Christopher Buchtmann alongside Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka in the January transfer window may have slipped the attention of some Fulham fans.

With England left-back Shorey and Italian U21 striker Okaka brought in on loan to bolster Roy Hodgson’s First Team squad, the capture of German youth international Buchtmann was completed with one eye on the future.

Where his fellow arrivals have impressed in the short-term, the versatile midfielder is very much a player for the long-term.

A figure of £100,000 was reportedly what it took to take Buchtmann from Premier League rivals Liverpool, where he had turned heads in the past year-and-a-half.

When news broke of his impending departure, the Reds’ online forums were littered with words of frustration; the 17-year-old had been tipped to make a big impact and Liverpool’s loss will hopefully prove to be to the Whites’ gain.

“My time at Liverpool was a great experience, but it just didn’t work out for me there,” levels Christopher. “It is a big club, and the bottom line is that I just didn’t see myself breaking through into the first team.

“Young players rarely get to train with the first team there, while already I have been part of the senior players’ sessions here. That is what you want, because it shows that there is an opportunity.

“It came to the point where I had to make a decision. To be honest, it wasn’t such a difficult choice because it became apparent quite quickly that Fulham were a club where I could move forward as a player.

“I felt that I had gone as far as I could, and the move here made a lot of sense. I’m not saying that it will be easy to get in the First Team here, it’s just I feel that there is more of a chance – and that is important.”

Brought to Merseyside by a certain Malcolm Elias, now our Head of Talent ID and Recruitment who had originally spotted the youngster’s ability while playing for German club Borussia Dortmund, Buchtmann was part of the Liverpool U18s side that reached last season’s FA Youth Cup Final and a member of the Germany U17 squad that won the 2009 European U17 Championship.

In fact, his assists were crucial to his nation’s success, with his free-kick leading to Germany’s 37th minute equaliser against Holland in the final. He also set up a goal in the 2-0 Semi-Final defeat of Italy, having singlehandedly tormented England in the group stage with three assists in a 4-0 rout.

“It was an amazing experience,” he explains. “The Final was played in front of 25,000 people so that in itself made it a memorable night. The fact that we went on to win, and as host nation, made it all the more special.

“It was an excellent tournament for us, and I think we deserved to lift the trophy because we played well throughout. Beating England in the group stage was also a nice moment.

“Of course, it was an honour to be part of that Championship-winning team and it was a proud moment for us all. I’ve been playing for the national team from U15 level up, and we have a good group of young players.

“People have high hopes for us, but at the end of the day we have won just one tournament. The hard work is ahead of us now, but hopefully we can show what we’re capable of again in the next competition. One day I would love to play for the senior team, but first of all I have to establish myself at club level.”

An impressive showing on home soil also saw Buchtmann named among UEFA’s top 10 stars of the future – alongside names such as Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

“That was another proud moment,” he says. “It’s always nice to hear positive things about your game, and that was a good reward and recognition for me. But, I say again, I have to make sure that I continue that development, because there is plenty of work to do.”


The Minden-born youngster has settled into his new surroundings with ease, with coaches impressed with his attitude and commitment since his arrival. In reciprocation, he too has already reserved praise for the set-up here and insists that in the short while he has been at Fulham, he has developed as a player already.

“At Liverpool the Academy, reserves and first team are all separate,” he explains. “That’s what I was used to. Here, although the teams train separately, there is a sense of togetherness because we’re all based in one location. It makes those outside of the First Team feel part of things.

“I’ve been very impressed so far, particularly with the training sessions. It is clear that the coaches want to see you improve and I’m really enjoying working with Billy McKinlay [Development Squad Manager]. He’s strict, but that’s a good thing.

“He gets the best out of his players and I believe that he can push me to become a better player and help me move into the First Team at some point.

“I haven’t been here long, but already I feel that I have improved. My fitness levels have got higher, and I feel a lot stronger. I’ve also made progress in terms of understanding tactics and feel a lot more confident.

“Look at Chris Smalling. He has shown what can be achieved from playing in the Development Squad and is a great example of how a young player can develop at this club.”

On his DS debut, Buchtmann turned heads with his fluidity on the ball, eye for a pass and marauding runs on the break. A central midfielder through choice, the youngster can also play down the left, where his pin-point deliveries could also make a telling contribution.

A goal and an assist helped the Whites to a 2-0 defeat of Stoke City, prior to a composed display against Birmingham last Tuesday, with those present departing with a sense of excitement.

Having come through the youth ranks of Hannover ‘96 and Borussia Dortmund, and developing his game further at Liverpool, the German youth international now finds himself in the white of Fulham – a place where he will perhaps make his greatest impression.

“I have been given a fantastic opportunity, and I want to be a success here,” hopes Christopher. “I am pleased with the start that I have made and it was good to show my coach and the Manager what I can do. I need to play like that every week.

“Okay, I left one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but that didn’t make it the best club for me personally. At Fulham I already feel at home. I look at this Club and I do see an exciting future ahead – one that I very much want to be a part of.”

Christopher Buchtmann Up Close
- My nickname is just Chris. I haven’t been at the Club too long, so maybe I’ll have one next season?

- A strength of mine is my passing. I think I’m quite accurate with the ball. I also like to run at defenders.

- Although my weakness is my heading. I could also do with becoming a little bit stronger considering English football is very physical.

- I wouldn’t say I play most like any one player. Of course, there were players I watched closely growing up, but I’m just myself.

- The biggest influence on my career has been my father, Michael. My coaches have played a big part too.

- My favourite Fulham player is Danny Murphy. He plays in the same position as me, is the Club Captain, and also played for Liverpool. I think he is a great player.

- Growing up my idol was Zinedine Zidane. I used to love watching him play.

- Five years from now I’ll be hopefully playing week-in-week-out for Fulham and representing my country. I want to become a better player.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2010, 12:16:32 PM »
A Great Experience

Monday 22nd March 2010

Fulham FC News

The run to the FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final was a really good experience for all the players and staff involved, and I think it’s given our Academy a bigger profile, which is really important.

I believe everyone involved should be proud of themselves for the preparation, planning and organisation that went into every round of the tournament, and the backing we’ve had from the rest of the Club has been fantastic.

We talk about having an open and inclusive football club here and that has been very evident throughout, particularly when it came to the game at the Cottage when we could sense there were a lot of people willing us on to do well from every department, which was really nice.

On the night of the game against Aston Villa I was very proud of the boys, and obviously very disappointed for them at the end, because being so close to what would have been a marvellous experience, playing Newcastle over two legs in the Semi-Final just to have it snatched away, was a tough situation to swallow. Yet we can learn so much in defeat.

For the boys who will go on and earn themselves a career in the game it was a vital, vital lesson about how to finish a game off when you’re less than a minute away from going through. Maybe in those dieing moments nerves and the occasion played their part, so now they know the importance of keeping a clear mind and playing the clock down to see the game out.

I didn’t think there was a great deal between the teams over the 120 minutes. In all honesty I thought we edged it in terms of clear cut chances, but it was a great experience for the kids to be put under that kind of game pressure, and I thought a number of them did very, very well. The others will learn from the experience and when they find themselves in a situation like that again in the future they’ll be wiser.

That’s what the Youth Cup is all about. They are the big games for kids at this level, and in terms of their development, it provides invaluable lessons for when they make the next step up to play in the reserves.

In fairness to the players, I think we’ve taken as much out of them as we could have asked for. They’ve done really well for us and worked extremely hard on the training ground. We had a really trying start to the season when we had a lot of youngsters in the team, but they’ve got their heads down, applied themselves and they deserve all the accolades they’ve received.

It shows the progress they’ve made, and I think the staff that have worked with the boys should take a lot of credit too: Vic Bettinelli, Mark Pembridge, Kit Symons and also Billy McKinlay for the work he does with the boys when they step up to the Development Squad. Everybody that had a part to play in the development of the kids this year should be very, very proud of the work we’ve done.

But the biggest thing is that it’s given us a thirst for more. Now, having had an amount of success, the drive is to lick our wounds and get ready to push even harder in a new campaign next year.

It’s been a great experience that we’ve all learned from – even people like myself who have been around the block a few times. I’ve certainly learned this year how important the Youth Cup can be to an Academy.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2010, 03:17:29 PM »

Top six finish less important than frugality - Hodgson 
Hodgson saved Fulham from relegation in 2008 and they were seventh in 2009

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson insists the club must not overspend to try to break into the Premier League's top six.

The Cottagers finished seventh last term but Hodgson is adamant that ensuring the club's solvency is more important than moving up the table.

Hodgson, whose side are currently in 10th spot, said: "The club's existence is more important than short-term gain.

"It would be unwise of me to say that we should try to break into that top six by breaking the bank."

The 62-year old coach pointed to Portsmouth's situation as an example of what can happen if a club overstretches itself.

Pompey, nine points adrift at the bottom of the table, look almost certain to be relegated to the Championship after being docked nine points for going into administration.

"You have the short-term gain of Portsmouth winning the FA Cup (in 2008) which is really something that after years of moving between the top two divisions they thought maybe was beyond them, " added Hodgson.

"But when you see what happens as a result of it, with the club going into administration, that would bother me more than hoping or believing that Fulham could stay in the Premier League for years to come.

"The amount of money that the top teams are spending increases every year - not just the transfer fees but also wages.

"I know the chairman (Mohamed Al Fayed) has done an article this week that in his view clubs should not really be living beyond their means and clubs should not be depending on sugar daddies in order to survive."

Al Fayed told the Daily Express that he had spent £280m since buying Fulham for £30m 13 years ago.

The Egyptian said Manchester City were "the worst for the game" and that their big-spending ways could drive other clubs to extinction.

"Seventy five percent of the clubs, they are begging and borrowing. There won't be enough clubs left if this continues to happen," said Al Fayed.

"I totally agree with that philosophy as well," continued Hodgson, who has secured Fulham's top-flight status for next term while also guiding to the last eight of the Europa League.

"The teams in that top six have a massive advantage over Fulham, and that is that they have a capacity of 60-70,000 whereas we have 23,000."

Al Fayed took over at Fulham in the summer of 1997 and has bankrolled the west London club through the big spending managerial eras of Kevin Keegan, Jean Tigana and Lawrie Sanchez.

But the arrival of Hodgson in December 2007 and a miraculous escape from relegation seemed to bring about a switch to acting with greater financial responsibility.

However, Al Fayed has not been afraid to support Hodgson in the transfer market with the club spending a reported £12m on striker Andrew Johnson in the summer of 2008.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2010, 03:19:43 PM »

22nd March 2010

Well, what a historic night at the Cottage last Thursday. Thanks to my friend, The Rev (Gary Piper -Fulham's Chaplain),  I was able to witness it in person and it was just fantastic. I'd played another reserve game for QPR in the afternoon (I got through the full 90 feeling sharp and without any problems in a 3-1 win over a formerly unbeaten Crystal Palace) and combined with the London afternoon traffic meant, it meant I was still outside the ground when Juve scored. But my presence obviously settled everyone down and the boys turned it round in magnificent style. By the time it got to  2-1 I really felt it was all there for the taking but hats off to Clint - what a great goal to win a game like that with. That will no doubt become the stuff of legend and rightly so!

 So, two good scorelines on Thursday and now Fulham are looking  forward to some German opposition, which I was really hoping for. Wolfsburg were last season's Bundesliga champions and have some very good players but at this stage in the competition any game will be a tough one. But beating Donetsk and Juventus will have given the boys immense belief and confidence and they know they won't need to fear anyone.

 I went to the Princes Trust "Celebrate Success" Awards a couple of weeks ago. It acknowledges the work of everyone involved in the charity, along with the terrific stories of teenagers who've turned their lives around and in doing so have turned around the lives of many others.  One of the things about being a professional sportsman is that you have to drink a lot to keep hydrated. And that means you have to pee a lot so you always have to clock where the toilets are. On one of my many toilet runs I bumped into my former team mate Andy Cole - or should I say Andrew as he is now known! Amazing who you can run into when you're having a wee - not literally of course... 

Another little tale. A good friend of mine planned an 11-a-side game of football in the park for his 40th - his team against his mate's team so high stakes involved. We all turned up, the sun was out, and within three minutes of kick off, the birthday boy made a fantastic run and scored a goal that even Bergkamp would have been proud of! Never thought he had it in the locker if I'm honest. And with a bit of help from a German midfield maestro pulling the strings in the centre of the park , we won on penalties (what do you expect with a German on your team?!). It was a fantastic day and once again, happy birthday John. Can't wait for the rematch at your 50th!

 I got down to the Stereophonics concert at the O2 a week or so ago, too. I got the tickets as a birthday present. It's the third time I've been to see them but as always it was a great show with lots of songs from the new album which I'm really liking. 

More soon...

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2010, 03:21:26 PM »

Surprised at Hull upheaval

Thu Mar 18 01:25PM

I was surprised by Hull's decision to change their manager this week, especially by the timing with nine or 10 games to go.

It will be very difficult for Iain Dowie to come in and change things dramatically.

I think Phil Brown has been a victim of his own success in some ways - when you take a team from the Championship to the Premier League then you do make it difficult for yourself because you are suddenly in the best league in the world and you are not going to win as many games as you did.

If a manager has a lot of success early on, there is a risk that expectations will get too high, when the reality is that keeping Hull in the Premier League is a tremendous achievement.

Compared to the start they had last season this season wasn't the same. Brown was always starting on the back foot and of course there have been some changes as well in the hierarchy of the club.

It has not been running smoothly, and being down there near relegation is pressure for any manager.

Dowie will have a tough task to have an impact in such a short space of time. New ideas on the training pitch and around the club don't have time to develop so I was surprised by what happened.

Looking at the relegation battle, Portsmouth are obviously as good as down with their extra nine-point penalty, but it would have been difficult for them anyway.

Burnley are going to struggle. They were having a great run at home at the beginning of the season but they've lost that now and aren't picking up points on the road either. Their home games are vital now but I don't see them keeping enough keep sheets.

To join them, there are three or four teams fighting it out. If I were a betting man I would go for Hull, because I think the change in manager could be detrimental. I think it is a bad idea to change manager at this stage.

Newcastle did that last year and went down, and it is ironic that Dowie, who was Alan Shearer's assistant at St James' Park, has found himself thrown into another tough situation.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2010, 03:39:39 PM »

City sustain fourth place push

by Dan on March 22, 2010

This was all a little bit after the Lord Mayor’s show. Fulham, looking leggy from their European exploits on Thursday, never really recovered from giving away a couple of soft first-half goals and, despite a belated fightback, it was Manchester City who strolled to three points in the Sunday sunshine.

The irony of it all was that, in a lively opening, Fulham conceded just after they had looked certain to take the lead. Zoltan Gera guided an effort past Shay Given but any celebrations proved premature as Kolo Toure arrived from nowhere to clear the ball from underneath his own crossbar. The home fans were still getting their breath back when Craig Bellamy burst down the City right to conclude a quick counter-attack and saw his shot deflect off Aaron Hughes and onto the near post. Mark Schwarzer could only push the loose ball away and Roque Santa Cruz rolled in the opening goal from three yards out.

City, happy to play possession football with a midfield five until opportunities to move quickly upfield presented themselves, struck with precision with nine minutes to go in the first half. Bellamy, playing more as a winger than a centre forward, was integral again. His clever run down the left drew Aaron Hughes out of central defence to try and meet the danger, but Bellamy’s cross found Carlos Tevez in the centre. The Argentinian, full of artful touches all afternoon, controlled the ball brilliantly, skipped around Chris Smalling, and slotted home the second.

Fulham huffed and puffed but found little reward. Even with Joleon Lescott, who was injured in the warm-up, City’s defence contained Bobby Zamora very effectively and the home side were largely limited to hopeful shots from distance. Dickson Etuhu and Patrick Vieira fought an entertaining battle in central midifeld, one which the Nigerian arguably won, but Roy Hodgson’s side had too much to do to claw back such a deficit.

Indeed, City might have extended their lead long before Fulham found some much-needed urgency after Danny Murphy’s penalty had halved the arrears. The eye-catching Adam Johnson almost delivered a goal to match his stunning equaliser at Sunderland last week but his powerful right-footed drive flicked off the far post and wide with Schwarzer well beaten. Another effort from the edge of the box drifted just past the post, whilst both Santa Cruz and Bellamy passed up good chances to put the game beyond Fulham’s reach.

Such prolifigacy looked as though it might cost Roberto Mancini’s side as Fulham finally poured forward in such of an equaliser. The penalty, awarded by the assistant referee for handball against Gareth Barry, did seem harsh, but Murphy sent Shay Given, making his 500th Premier League appearance, the wrong way from the spot. Substitute Stefano Okaka missed a glorious chance to grab a point late on after Bjorn Helge Riise had squeezed a lovely through ball between the City defenders and, in injury-time, both referee and assistant declined to award a second penalty, despite Vincent Kompany’s handball looking a lot more punishable than Barry’s.

Hodgson’s team selection and relaxed attitude afterwards – even if he was critical of Fulham’s defending – showed just how this season has exceeded his expectations. By resting Brede Hangeland and removing Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera well before the end, Hodgson made clear that his priority was Wednesday’s FA Cup quarter-final replay at Tottenham. Fulham started their European odyssey with a second-string side and now Hodgson’s resting players in the league.

FULHAM (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Baird (Riise 80), Konchesky, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy, Duff, Davies; Gera (Okaka 55); Zamora (Dempsey 52). Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Shorey, Greening.

GOAL: Murphy (pen 75).

MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): Given; Zabaleta, Garrido, Kompany, Toure; Barry, Vieira, Bellamy (Onuoha 90), A. Johnson (Wright-Phillips 84); Santa Cruz (de Jong 79), Tevez. Subs (not used): Taylor, Richards, Sylvinho, Ireland.

GOALS: Santa Cruz (7), Tevez (36).

REFEREE: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire).


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2010, 03:42:07 PM »

Loaner Report 3/22/10

By: timmyg | March 22nd, 2010
Eddie Johnson started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in Aris Thessaloniki’s 1-1 draw vs. Panionios GSS on Sunday. Here is a video of his goal:

Panionios - Aris, 0-1 Johnson

Diomansy Kamara did not dress in Celtic’s 3-0 win over St. Johnstone on Saturday.

David Stockdale started, played 90 minutes and registered 8 saves in Plymouth Argyle’s 2-1 loss at Scunthorpe United on Saturday. He started and played 90 minutes in the Pilgrims’ 3-2 win over Bristol City last Tuesday. His loan deal was extended until the end of April.

Toni Kallio did not dress in Sheffield United’s 13-0 win over Blackpool last Tuesday and in the Blades’ 1-1 draw with Doncaster on Saturday due to an ankle injury. He will miss another 5 weeks because of the injury.

Matthew Saunders started, played 80 minutes and registered an assist in Lincoln City’s 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge last Tuesday. Saunders did not dress in the Imps’ 3-2 win at Torquay due to an injury. He loan was at Lincoln City was extended until season’s end.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2010, 03:43:41 PM »

Fulham 1-2 Citizens

By: timmyg | March 22nd, 2010

Must admit I completely missed this match due to a volunteer event, but I did manage to catch the MOTD2 highlights and, well, meh.

As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam, the League campaign is basically over. Sure, there are still eight games left to play and we could potentially move up or down in the table, but where we are is about where we will be come May 9.

This league match was sandwiched into between the cup competitions that will prove/are proving to be this season’s saving grace. (or is that term too strong?)

City, I mean Mancini, needed to win this one considering their hunt for 4th place. Conversely Roy didn’t want any injuries or suspensions, which showed through the team selection (no Hangeland or Shorey; Baird at RB, Smalling at CB and Dempsey a second-half substitute). Although City quickly raced out to a 2-0 lead, the guardian’s chalkboards tell a different tale:

Either City sat back for a majority of the match or Fulham really dominated possession. Just looking at the chalkboard alone makes me a little upset we didn’t manage at least a point. Also, our defence appeared to do well on this but the highlights I saw showed a different tale. Can I get a witness?

One big positive about this match was we did not concede a single goal in the second half yet again. If we were to exclude to United game at Old Trafford, where 3 goals were conceded in the second half, Fulham have not allowed a second-half goal in the league since January 26 against Spurs.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2010, 03:45:32 PM »
Roman Pavlyuchenko vows to shake off injury in time for Spurs against Portsmouth

By Ashley Gray Last updated at 2:42 PM on 22nd March 2010

Roman Pavlyuchenko has eased Tottenham Hotspur's injury crisis by declaring he will be fit for Saturday's Premier League visit of Portsmouth.

The in-form striker was forced off after 36 minutes of Spurs' 2-1 win at Stoke and feared he had torn his left hamstring.

The 28-year-old was given an injection after the match and scans later showed there was no serious damage, though Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay against Fulham will come too soon for a player who has scored eight goals in his last seven appearances.
'At first there was suspicion of a tear and I was terribly upset because I've just started to play and could be out for a couple of weeks,' said Pavlyuchenko. 'But on Sunday I visited specialists, fearing the worst, but thank God this was not confirmed.

'In fact, I had a muscle spasm, after which you just have to rest for two or three days to avoid anything worse.

'The club doctor confirmed that if everything is normal I will return to training on Tuesday.

'I will miss the FA Cup game on Wednesday, but I should be ready for Portsmouth.'

White Hart Lane boss Harry Redknapp has 16 players injured or out on loan and is having to make do without top scorer Jermain Defoe.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2010, 03:49:15 PM »

Mariner salutes Stockdale

Mon, 22 Mar 15:14:33 2010

Plymouth head coach Paul Mariner has sung the praises of on-loan Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale as they prepare for the Championship clash at Ipswich.

Stockdale, 24, has agreed to extend his loan spell at Plymouth into a third month and was the outstanding performer in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at relegation rivals Scunthorpe.

Mariner said: "We have supreme faith in David and he is going to be a very good goalkeeper.

"He was left exposed three or four times at Scunthorpe because we were pushing forward and he made some tremendous point-blank saves."

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2010, 03:50:24 PM »

Analysis of "My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham Against Manchester City"

 by Fulhampatsfan on Mar 22, 2010 2:41 PM GMT  0 comments

I always like to go back and look at how my "keys" to each match actually turned out. Manchester City ended up winning the match 2 - 1 against Fulham at Craven Cottage. This article is in response to my preview of the Manchester City match for Fulham. Below is my analysis of "my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Manchester City."

1. Fulham need to stay even or ahead with Manchester City by the end of the first half. I guess you can say I was really right with this key. Fulham were down at the half 2 - 0 to Manchester City. Fulham came out very sluggish and Manchester City came out fast. This lead at the half definitely helped Manchester City dicate the match. I hope the team learned something from their poor start.

2.  What kind of lineup changes will Roy Hogdson have for this match?There were definitely a a few lineup changes that affected the match. Brede Hangeland did not play, and was replaced by Chris Smalling. In my opinion Smalling I thought struggled. Chris Baird was moved back to right back. That was probably the smart move. Danny Murphy did play. Clint Dempsey again came off the bench. Also, Stefano Okaka came into the match in the second half. Okaka I thought was affective and had a very good scoring chance. In the end the lineup changes were to me a minor cause for the loss. The only change that was a negative to me was Smalling for Hangeland.   

3. Fulham need to control the central midfield against Manchester City.Danny Murphy seemed to be fine in the midfield. Gareth Barry and Patrick Viera I thought were good for Manchester City. At times Manchester City did control the game. The midfield definitely played a role in it.

4.  Can Fulham take advantage of the Manchester City defense with Wayne Bridge out? At times they put pressure on the Manchester City defense. They did not put nearly enough pressure overall in the match. Damien Duff played well. He really couldn't get a clear opportunity for himself. Bobby Zamora coming out early in the second half was probably a factor in the lack of opportunities Fulham had. Unfortunately, Fulham did not take advantage of Wayne Bridge being out. 

5. Fulham's defense needs to contain Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy.Fulham did not contain Tevez or Bellamy. They were giving trouble often to the Fulham defense. Santa Cruz was also a big factor in the match. There was sloppy play in the back that led to some chances for Manchester City. Fulham are usually extremely solid in back. This game there seemed to be some lapses.

Looking back at the "keys",  to me #1 and # 5 turned out to be the biggest issues on Sunday. Let's hope Fulham come out stronger on Wednesday, and can control the Tottenham strikers. I am sure those factors will be keys to that match.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2010, 04:35:27 PM »
Big Game Hunter

Monday 22nd March 2010

Fulham FC News

After Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Manchester City at Craven Cottage, Whites midfielder Zoltan Gera has this week’s FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay firmly in his sights.

Having played out a goalless draw with Tottenham little more than two weeks ago, Fulham travel to White Hart Lane on Wednesday determined to secure their first Wembley appearance in 35 years.

Following Thursday’s memorable UEFA Europa League triumph, the Whites were brought back to reality as a result of City’s 2-1 victory, but our Hungarian schemer believes Fulham can bounce back with a bang.

Speaking exclusively to he said: “The result on Sunday was disappointing, we all know that, especially after the game against Juventus. But we made it very difficult for ourselves because we just didn’t start the game very well.

“It’s tough to come back from two goals at half-time, and had my chance in the first-half not been cleared off the line, maybe we would have seen a different outcome. That said, we did play better in the second-half and probably should have taken something.

“But we have to forget about that game now, and we have the perfect match to bounce back in this week when we face Tottenham in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup.

“We are facing a very good side, and one that has a lot of top players. We know this will be a difficult game, as the first one proved. There wasn’t a lot between the two teams that afternoon, and I think it will probably be the same again.

“We have faced them three times already this season, so we know what they are all about. We’re yet to beat them though, having drawn twice and lost one. So hopefully we can change that this week. It could be a matter of whichever team makes the most of the opportunities that they are given.”

And when considering his current form, few would back against the 30-year-old taken his, for Gera has become Fulham’s man for the big occasion scoring against CSKA Sofia, FC Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus.

“Well this is a big occasion,” enthuses Zolly. “For the players, fans and the Club. It will be an important night for us all, and hopefully I can play my part. I am pleased with my season so far, but there is always more that you can do.

“I have managed to score some important goals, and I would like to do so again. It’s always nice to score, but of course, when it has a greater importance for the team that is great.

“But it’s not just about one player, this is a team and we all have the same hopes for Wednesday – we all want to go through.”

Reward for Wednesday night’s winners will be a trip to Wembley, if successful it will be the Club’s first visit since they reached the 1975 FA Cup Final.

“It has been a long while since Fulham last ran out at Wembley,” he added. “So to be part of a team that achieves that for the Club would be very special.

“And it’s a special place to play, one of the best. I have been lucky enough to play there twice before, but I would love to go back and this time with Fulham.”

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (22/03/10)
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2010, 04:36:41 PM »
Back In Business

Monday 22nd March 2010

Fulham FC News   

Highly rated Fulham Academy Graduate Robert Milsom is back in action after a 12 month absence through injury.

Milsom was struck down by a serious knee injury just a week after making his First Team debut at Old Trafford last season but the midfielder is now looking towards making a breakthrough next season after making a full recovery.

“The injury happened during a Reserve Team game against Arsenal,” Milsom explained. “It was unfortunate. I’d just come back off loan from Southend and I thought I was playing really well for the Reserves and in training.

“I was given a chance in the First Team against Manchester United at Old Trafford a week before the injury happened. I’ve been back a few months now and training so hopefully it’s all behind me. It was a long time out but I think I’m over it.

“I’ve played two Reserve matches. In the first I played 75 minutes against Stoke which was a good game to come back in and I played against Birmingham the other night. I’m not fully match fit yet – that’s going to take a while after being out for 12 months but I feel okay."

Milsom was handed a one-year contract extension last week and is determined to repay the faith the Club has shown him during the hard times by making an impact in Roy Hodgson's First Team next season. 

“I was awarded a new one year extension which was nice," said Milsom. "I owe the Club a lot for helping me through my injury and I’m grateful that they offered me another year for me to prove myself and get myself into the First Team.

“He [Roy Hodgson] always gave me encouragement when I was injured and was always asking me how I was. At the moment it’s all about getting games with the Reserves and seeing what happens next season.

“I’m going to play the rest of the season for the Reserves. Of course I’ll be trying to break into the First Team but I’m not expecting massive things. Then I’m going to play in Scandinavia over the summer.

“I’ll get around 15 games and be match fit for the start of the new season. Hopefully it will give me an advantage when we come back for next season because I’ll be match fit. I’ve been out for a long time so I’m happy to go over there.

“I’ve missed so much all I want to do is play football. I don’t need a rest!”

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