Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10  (Read 7875 times)


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Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« on: August 09, 2010, 08:57:23 AM »

International Football - Davies calls time on Wales career

Fulham midfielder Simon Davies, veteran of 58 games for Wales, has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 30.

Wales manager John Toshack had originally named Davies in his squad for the friendly against Luxembourg in Llanelli on August 11.
But the Football Association of Wales confirmed that Davies had subsequently withdrawn.
Davies, who had scored six times for Wales since his debut in 2001, played his last game for the Dragons in March against Sweden. He cited his desire to prolong his career as the reason behind ending his international commitments.
In another change to the Wales squad to face Luxembourg Toshack will be without the services of Sam Vokes. The striker, on loan at Bristol City from Wolverhampton Wanderers, has withdrawn with a hamstring injury.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 08:58:52 AM »

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora must hit the high notes for England, says Mark Hughes

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora has been urged to take his England call-up with both hands and avoid joining the club of one-cap wonders who failed to live up to expectations.
By John Ley
Published: 7:15AM BST 09 Aug 2010

There was a clamour for the Fulham striker to be included in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad but an injury made that decision easy for the

England manager. However, Capello has included him for Wednesday’s friendly against Hungary.

Zamora scored in Saturday’s impressive 5-1 win over Werder Bremen and, three hours later, got the call to confirm that he would feature against Hungary.

Mark Hughes, upbeat after such a successful debut as Fulham manager, said: “We’re delighted for Bobby. It’s recognition for his fine play.

What Bobby’s got to do is build on last year and the performances that have been highlighted by Capello.

“If he has a similar season we benefit and England will, because we’ll both have a player with great ability.”

Zamora became a father of twins last week, so he has only just returned to training. But the 29 year-old proved he had lost none of his sharpness with a goal against Werder.

Hughes added: “He’s missed a couple of days in training after his partner had twins, so we’ve only had a couple of sessions with him, but
you can see the qualities that he has and I thought he was excellent again today.

“He looks a good player and he has to kick on now and be one of the main players in the Premier League. It’s up to him. If he has an opportunity and he gets the shirt, it’s all about grasping it.”

Hughes believes Zamora has the ability to become a regular fixture in Capello’s European Championship squad. “There’s a wind of change in the England squad, and he may well benefit from that,” he added.

Against Werder, Fulham came back from a goal behind to win comfortably, thanks largely to a remarkable 11-minute hat-trick from Zoltan Gera, and the Hungarian is set to face Zamora at Wembley.

Gera said: “When I came on I said to Bobby 'See you on Wednesday’ at Wembley. Hopefully he’ll be able to play.

“He had a fantastic season last season and he’s a quality player. I wish him all the best if he plays in the national team.”


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 08:59:22 AM »

[AMERICANS ABROAD] American forwards Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson, both trying to make cases with the European clubs at which they've up until now failed to settle in, scored in friendly action over the weekend.

In Altidore's case, the goal for Villarreal came against Besiktas, the Turkish club that is reportedly pursuing him for a permanent transfer.

Altidore was signed by Villarreal from the New York Red Bulls but then was loaned out to Xerez and Hull City.

Johnson impressed in Fulham's first game under its new manager, Mark Hughes. He scored and Clint Dempsey got an assist in a 5-1 friendly win over Werder Bremen.

Johnson is trying to work his way into a squad that has loaned him out twice since he arrived in January 2008 from the Kansas City Wizards. He went scoreless in four league appearances for Fulham last season before being loaned to Greece's Aris in January.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 09:01:38 AM »

2010-2011 Fulham Premier League Preview
By Cody Worsham (Featured Columnist) on August 8, 2010

This article first appeared at Hammy End. Follow the link for further reading.

The 2010-11 campaign of Fulham Football Club will be a fascinating mixture of strange and familiar.

Newly-hired manager Mark Hughes arrives to Craven Cottage with big shoes to fill. Roy Hodgson left Fulham as one of its most popular managers ever, capping off his stay in London with a trip to the Europa League final.

But many of the old faces remain. The big performers of the 2009-10 side—Aaron Hughes, Zoltan Gera, Clint Dempsey, Bobby Zamora, among others—are all back. In fact, of squad members who made at least 15 appearances last season, only Chris Smalling and Erik Nevland have left the club.

Mark Hughes' biggest task will be keeping an aging squad fresh for Premier League Competition. Tactics will be key in doing so.

Thus, Hughes’ job is made easier by the fact that he is inheriting an experienced and comfortable squad. This year’s side will be familiar with one another, so chemistry should not be a problem.

Hughes’ top priority, then, will be managing the tactical aspects of the squad. His biggest challenges will be finding depth in a side that lacks a true big-name star and utilizing versatile players in their most effective spots.

As the transfer window has yet to close, this piece may require edits as players come or go. For now, we’ll work with the players available and leave speculation for another day.


Barring injury or transfer, Fulham are set to have one of the strongest defensive units in the Premier League.

Despite much talk of moving to bigger clubs, Brede Hangeland returns for another campaign for the Whites. His size will again match nicely with the speed of Aaron Hughes for the classic stopper-sweeper pairing in central defence, and new signing Phillipe Senderos should provide much-needed depth in the centre.

At fullback, John Pantsil and Paul Konchesky provide skill and service going forward, but both are disciplined, steady defenders. Pantsil missed much of the season last year due to injury, but he was superb at the World Cup this summer, grading out among the best according to the Castrol Index.

Chris Baird, the Cottagers’ consummate utility player, may get starts across the back four due to his versatility and could see minutes in the midfield as well. Stephen Kelley could see an expanded role with Smalling gone, but he’ll have an uphill battle behind the likes of those already mentioned.

Mark Schwarzer has turned down Arsenal and other suitors to return between the pipes. His experience and skill should keep backups David Stockdale and Pascal Zuberbuhler fairly inactive for the season.

While Mark Hughes’ teams are known for a physical style of defence (his Blackburn teams were consistently atop the league in fouls), this defense relies more on finesse and positioning, with vice-captain Aaron Hughes as the face of the Fulham back line. Don’t expect the strategy to change much, but some physicality will be injected with new leadership, and a relief from European duty should allow the Cottagers to improve on last season’s respectable tally of 46 goals conceded (the eighth best total in the Premier League).

Aaron Hughes is the unsung hero in the Fulham back line, and the vice-captain's leadership will be vital to success for the Whites.

Of all the areas in the squad, the defence should see the most improvement, if due to nothing more than increased rest and added depth and experience. It should also be the most consistent area, with Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, and Pantsil getting the most minutes and Baird or Senderos providing depth in key spots.


If the defence is to be the most consistently fielded area of the squad, the midfield should see the most turnover game-to-game. There are no spots locked up in the midfield, save one, with the right wing being the most tightly-contested slot.

Captain Danny Murphy should be the one guarantee in the midfield. The experienced central midfielder drives the Fulham attack and anchors the defence from the middle. He should see less time than his 41 appearances of a year ago, which should bode well for his 33-year-old legs.

Damien Duff on a wing is the next-closest to a lock in the side. Hodgson was fond of allowing the left-footed Duff to play on either side of the midfield, and Hughes may do much of the same. On the left, Duff provides great service and cleverness to get down the byline, while on the right he’s always a threat to cut inside and rip one from long distance.

Jonathan Greening and Dickson Etuhu should battle for the central spot beside Murphy. Both are effective counters to Murphy, providing bulk and defensive range to match nicely with Murphy’s passing finesse. Etuhu is the favorite to start early on, but Hughes would do well to look for a transfer target that can both start beside Murphy and also begin the process of replacing the aging captain.

The biggest battle will be for the wide midfield spot opposite Duff. Clint Dempsey, Simon Davies, and Zoltan Gera will be fighting for a place in the starting lineup for much of the early part of the season. All could see time there, with Dempsey the likeliest to earn the most starts.

With that said, I imagine there will be a place for two of the above each and every game. That will depend on the formation Hughes implements, but more on that later.


With news of an England call-up fresh off the presses, Bobby Zamora enters the 2010-11 campaign off of one of the finest years of his career.

In a season so successful that he nearly emerged as a member of Fabio Capello’s World Cup side, Zamora scored 19 goals in all contests, including 11 en route to the Europa League final.

But it’s not just his prowess in front of net that makes Zamora so valuable to the Whites. He led the club in assists during the Premier League campaign last year, and his passing sets up just as many scores as his running and shot-taking.

Beyond him, however, there are no guarantees leading the line. Andy Johnson is still battling chronic knee injuries with no foreseeable return date. David Elm will be back, but his scoring record is less than stellar. Gone are Nevland and Stefano Okaka, who saw the next most minutes up top. Eddie Johnson returns from loan to Aris, where he played well, but Johnson has been as dependable as London weather since his arrival to the Cottage.

So with such little depth up top and a bit of depth in the midfield, how should Mark Hughes set out his side?


With only one forward a proven threat in the league (barring any significant pick up in the transfer market), Hughes’ best bet is to set out in a lone forward formation.

Zamora is the prototypical target forward: He’s excellent with his back to goal, he can drop into the midfield to distribute, and he has an unbeatable work rate.

If lone forward is the decision, then, that leaves some decision-making concerning the midfield. As previously noted, a lack of depth in the central midfield makes 4-5-1 an unlikely decision. 4-2-3-1 requires a tandem of tough, tackling holders, true wingers, and a play-making trequartista-like player in the final third—again, not exactly the type of personnel Mark Hughes is blessed with.

The chemistry between Zamora, left, and Gera should make for a potent Fulham attack in the final third.

The most comfortable option, based on performance last year and simple personnel common sense, is 4-4-1-1. This works well with the depth and versatility in wide midfield positions and the lack of depth in the centre of midfield. The back four and midfield four play in their natural shapes, with the fullbacks free to roam forward, the wide midfielders space to cut in or push wide, and the central midfielders playing on a string.

Gera, Davies, and Dempsey can all excel wide or just behind the striker, with Gera in particular relishing in a role just off Zamora’s shoulder. The Hungarian international scored 10 goals in all competitions, including six in the Europa League, where he and Zamora were often paired in a similar fashion. It was this position that allowed Gera to be named the club’s 2009-10 Player of the Year.

With Gera more forward, Dempsey and Davies can battle it out for the other wide position, and hopefully Bjørn Helge Riise can push for time out wide, as well.

Unquestionably, Hughes needs to get on the transfer market and bring in some talent, most pertinently in the central midfield and forward positions. Depth and age are going to be issues for this team, and the easiest fix can be found on the market. However, in a 4-4-1-1, much like the one pictured below, Fulham can put out a starting XI that can compete for top-six standing in the Premier League


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 09:02:43 AM »

Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera thinks that Bobby Zamora is worthy of England chance

Hungarian star looking forward to friendly against the Three Lions

By Anthony Sciarrino

Zoltan Gera believes that Fulham team-mate Bobby Zamora is fully deserving of his call-up by Fabio Capello to his England squad.

The 29-year-old Cottagers striker is readying to make his debut appearance for the Three Lions in a friendly against Hungary on Wednesday after missing out on a chance to go to the World Cup this summer due to injury.

Gera, a Hungary international, thinks that his Fulham team-mate’s performance last season merits his call-up to the England side and insists that Zamora should get a chance to play.

“I don’t think it matters how old you are if you play well and show you deserve to play,” Gera told the Daily Star.

“England have lots of good, hungry players and I’m not going to tell the manager who to pick but hopefully Bobby will play.

“Hopefully he will play. He had a fantastic last season, he is a quality player and I wish him all the best when he plays for England.”

The 31-year-old Hungarian, who scored a hat-trick in Fulham’s 5-1 pre-season victory over Werder Bremen, believes that playing the Three Lions will be a great opportunity for his country.

“England are still a good team. But it’s a great chance for us. We have a new manager and a new squad with younger players.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 09:03:59 AM »

Bobby Zamora swept up in a wind of change in week to savour for new England striker

It's been quite a week for Bobby Zamora. The 29-year-old Fulham striker became a father to twins and can now win his first England cap after earning a place in Fabio Capello's squad to face Hungary on Wednesday.

Fulham manager Mark Hughes believes Zamora can profit from the 'wind of change' within the England camp after the team's World Cup disappointment and cement his place in the side.

Hughes said: 'We're delighted for Bobby. It's recognition for his fine play in recent times.

'He looks a good player and he has to kick on now and be one of the main players in the Premier League.

'If he has an opportunity and he gets the shirt, it's all about grasping it. He mustn't allow the progress that he's undoubtedly made in recent times to waver. There's a wind of change in the England squad, and he may well benefit from that.

'What Bobby's got to do is build on last year and the performances that have been highlighted by Capello. If he has a similar season we benefit and obviously England will, because we'll both have a player with great ability.'

Zamora scored Fulham's equaliser on Saturday as the London club overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Werder Bremen 5-1 at Craven Cottage in Hughes's first game in charge.

The win included a goal for Eddie Johnson and a superb 10-minute hat-trick for Zoltan Gera.

The 31-year-old is in Hungary's squad to face England and said Fulham team-mate Zamora is certainly not too old to make his international debut.

Gera said: 'It doesn't matter how old you are, if you play well and deserve to play in the best team in your country. It doesn't matter how old you are, it matters how well you're doing on the pitch.

'I said to Bobby, "See you on Wednesday, on the field, at Wembley". He had a fantastic season last season and he's a quality player.
'England have lots of good young players, hungry players and are a very good team so it's going to be difficult for us.'
Both Zamora and Gera impressed more than Werder midfielder Mesut Ozil, whom Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson cast an eye over from the stands.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 09:04:49 AM »


BOBBY ZAMORA has been tipped to hand England’s young guns a real lesson after finally being given the chance to shine by Three Lions boss Fabio Capello.

The Fulham ace, 29, is set to make his international debut against Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday, after missing out on a shock World Cup call-up through injury.

And despite Zamora’s late arrival on the big stage, Fulham team-mate and Hungary star Zoltan Gera is expecting a stellar showing from the Barking-born striker.

“I don’t think it matters how old you are if you play well and show you deserve to play,” said Gera.

“England have lots of good, hungry players and I’m not going to tell the manager who to pick but hopefully Bobby will play.

“Hopefully he will play. He had a fantastic last season, he is a quality player and I wish him all the best when he plays for England.”

Gera was in top form during Fulham’s 5-1 win over Werder Bremen in their final pre-season friendly before next weekend’s Premier League opener at Bolton.

The former West Brom man warmed up for the clash with England by netting an 11-minute hat-trick, with Zamora and Eddie Johnson also scoring.

He added: “England are still a good team. But it’s a great chance for us. We have a new manager and a new squad with younger players.”


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 09:06:35 AM »
Premier League preview: Fulham

Three things often forgotten about Mark Hughes: 1) His first name’s actually Leslie; 2) His big, curly German hairdo in the Eighties; 3) His success in taking Blackburn to sixth in the League and two FA Cup semi-finals.

Moving to Fulham after their years of over-achievement with Uncle Woy and talking about a top 10 finish might sound far-fetched.

The only way is down, cries commonsense, but operating on similar resources to Blackburn will play to his strengths in the transfer market and effective man-management.

First task, convince Zamora to stay.

Boss’s toughest job
Winning over the crowd. Fans seem non-plussed by Sparky’s arrival and Roy wonder is some act to follow.
But it was the same with Hodgson, and look how that turned out.
Hiccup on horizon
Fulham’s route to the Europa League final was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Trouble is that neither fans, nor owner Mohamed Al Fayed, will enjoy a dose of reality which could come this season.  Sound familiar, Mark?

The numbers game
1 - Number of goals Fulham have scored in each of their last four openers 46 - Fewest amount of yellow cards picked up in the PL last season
5 - But they gave away joint-highest number of own goals

Alternative sponsor
Easyjet — Famed for cheap and cheerful trips all over Europe

In – Philippe Senderos (Arsenal, free), Jonathan Greening (West Brom, undisclosed)
Out – Chris Smalling (Man Utd, £8m), Elliot Omozusi (L Orient, free), Christopher
Buchtmann (Cologne, undisclosed), Wayne Brown (Bristol Rovers, free), Erik Nevland (Viking, free).

Keep an eye out for
Keanu Marsh-Brown Age: 18 Position: Winger
Can also play at full back. Very right-sided, but this skilful trickster poses a considerable threat.

Fan’s view
Josh Day: We dodged a bullet getting Hughes instead of Sven.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 09:08:45 AM »
Young Lions Clubbed To Death- Alan Shearer

ALAN SHEARER - Former England captain
IT was refreshing to see some young talent brought in by Fabio Capello - but I wonder how much sustained impact they will have on the England team.

Kieran Gibbs, Adam Johnson, Jack Wilshere are all good players but all they have at the moment is outstanding potential.

What they don't have is the experience of playing regular, high-quality football in either the Premier or Champions Leagues.

And the question you have to ask is: How are they going to get it?

The same applies to Joe Hart and Theo Walcott - both immensely talented but both likely to have to spend a big part of the season on the sidelines.

These players are at clubs chasing top honours at home and in Europe, and the priority for each of their managers, I'm afraid, is not the welfare of the England team.

Take Roberto Mancini. After another summer of major spending, Manchester City's owners expect a Champions League place as an absolute minimum this season.

So it won't matter to the City manager whether he uses Hart or Johnson on a regular basis. It won't matter to him that Capello wants young English talent to thrive and prosper.

He will pick the best City team available to him and that, more than likely, will mean the high-profile signings he's made.

If Mancini decides to go with the experience of Shay Given in goal, Hart will be on the bench.

Likewise, Johnson will no doubt find himself down the pecking order in the City attack. And that won't be a lot of good to Capello as he tries to reshape his England squad.

Gibbs and Walcott will also probably be bit-part players as Arsene Wenger tries to win some silverware for Arsenal.

It is the age-old problem of foreign imports taking priority over home-grown talent and I cannot see it changing because the pressure on managers to deliver instant success is greater than ever.

That's why I don't envisage a wholesale changing of the guard after our dismal failure of the World Cup finals.

John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard all still have a massive part to play - certainly in the European Championship qualifiers.

So too will Wayne Rooney. And it is time to wipe the slate clean as far as the Manchester United striker is concerned.

He is still a world-class player. He has been for the last five years and one poor tournament won't change that.

No one quite knows why he underperformed in South Africa. Whether it was because of tiredness or injury, only he knows.

But I bet he will have another outstanding season for United and be the focal point of England's attack for years to come.

Wayne will have a new selection of strike partners against Hungary on Wednesday and it will be interesting to see how Darren Bent, Bobby Zamora and Carlton Cole do.

I thought Bent was unlucky not to make it to South Africa.

One thing all strikers need to do to catch the eye is score goals. The Sunderland man did that in abundance last season and he did it in a side struggling at the wrong end of the table for most of the season.

Zamora did amazingly well for Fulham, too, and Cole has shown at West Ham he leads the line well.

But all three now face a much bigger in challenge international football. It is probably a bigger step up than for any other position.


Strikers get fewer chances at that level.

Defenders are ruthless and determined not to give you an inch and it doesn't matter how well you play, you will always be measured by the number of times you find the target.

Try telling that to Peter Crouch, though. He has an incredible scoring record for England.

Some will argue he has done it against lesser teams, but he has still been prolific and he should have been given more of a chance in the matches out in South Africa.

His omission from this squad is probably down to Spurs having a Champions League qualifier the following week - which would also account for Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe's absence.

In all truth, the Hungary game is one which no one really wants. Probably not even Capello.

At least it gives him the chance to take a closer look at the kids.

But he would much rather see them playing Premier League football for their clubs every week.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 09:09:44 AM »
BBC Sport - Football - Fulham's Simon Davies calls time on Wales career

Fulham's Simon Davies calls time on Wales career

Wales midfielder Simon Davies has retired from international football.
The 30-year-old Fulham player won 58 caps for Wales, scoring six goals, after making his debut in 2001.
The Football Association of Wales said Davies had decided to concentrate on club football after struggling with a foot injury for the past 18 months.
Davies has slipped down the Wales midfield pecking order due to emergence of Aaron Ramsey, David Edwards, Jack Collison, Joe Ledley and Andy King.
But the news will be a blow for Wales boss John Toshack, who only last week spoke about the importance of senior players such as Davies as Wales attempt to qualify for Euro 2012.
Davies, who made his Wales bow debut in a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in March 2001, last played for Wales in the friendly loss to Sweden in March but that had been his first appearance in almost a year because of injury.
And Davies, who captained Wales in their 2-0 defeat by Germany in April 2009, even admitted to BBC Sport almost exactly 12 months ago that he considered quitting Wales.
"I did initially think after this campaign I'd have a look and see about retiring from Wales," Davies said last year.
"It gets harder and harder because the Premier League is so demanding.
"It is sometimes difficult to go away with Wales when you see the other lads having a few days off recharging their batteries."
But Davies deciding to call time on his international career is the latest in a long line of high-profile experienced Wales players to retireme since previous boss Mark Hughes quit.
Gary Speed, Robbie Savage, Mark Delaney, John Hartson, Mark Pembridge, Andy Melville and Ryan Giggs have all quit Wales since Hughes left to take over at Blackburn in 2004.
But Toshack is in the middle of a Wales rebuilding process with the country's promising youngsters.
And Davies was one of the senior Welsh players criticised following Wales' disappointing World Cup qualifying defeat to an average Finland side in Cardiff in March last year, a loss that made 2010 World Cup qualification virtually impossible.
Arsenal playmaker Ramsey, West Ham sensation Collison, Celtic new boy Ledley, Wolverhampton Wanderers youngster Edwards and King of Leicester are ahead of Davies in Toshack's pecking order.
So instead of Davies, a star of Fulham's charge to last season's Europa Cup final, being a Wales squad player so the Haverfordwest-born player informed the Welsh FA of his decision to retire.
Wales begin their preparations for their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, which begins in Montenegro on 3 September, with a friendly against Luxembourg in Llanelli on Wednesday.
A Welsh FA statement read: "The FAW would like to take the opportunity of thanking Simon for his service and wishes him well for the forthcoming season with Fulham."


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 09:10:25 AM »

Hughes out of Montenegro clash
(UKPA) – 10 hours ago

Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes has been been ruled out of the friendly against Montenegro on Wednesday in Podgorica.
Hughes is returning to Fulham after his inflamed Achilles was assessed by the medical team.
He is the second defender to be sidelined over the weekend after Gareth McAuley suffered a back injury in Ipswich's victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday.
It means three players have dropped out of the squad in total, with Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson being replaced by Alan Blayney of Linfield.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2010, 09:12:29 AM »
Fulham - Another Year of Football

To say this Summer has been a turbulent one could be considered a reasonably large understatement.

While signings have been close to non-existent, the back pages have been filled to the brim with a managing debacle which all unfolded after Roy Hodgson's understandable departure to Liverpool.

Martin Jol was, and it's no secret, Mohamed Al Fayed's first choice for the manager role at the Cottage. However, the interest came to nothing and with what seemed slight reluctance, Al Fayed opted for the sturdy hand of Mark Hughes to take Fulham forward.

Pre-season was mixed, with a memorable win at Griffin Park followed by relative disappointments at both Portsmouth and Bournemouth.

Sparky's first game in charge on the other hand brought jubilation to Craven Cottage with a fine 5-1 drumming of Champions League qualifiers Werder Bremen.

Regrettably though, we can't read too deeply into such Summer successes as of course, they are only friendlies, and friendlies, in reality, are arranged to provide answers to questions of fitness rather than ability.

Saying that though, the boys did look sharp and it's a decent way to kick start a new managerial campaign for us.

With that in mind, I get the feeling this year has the potential to be a good one.

Firstly, let's talk transfers: The uncertainty over the managerial hot seat has left the side looking short on incomings.

Phillipe Senderos and Jonathan Greening are the only deals to go through since the window opened with the first of which being wholly Roy-Hodgson-inspired. Greening's permanent move has been met with a mixed reaction from the fans, but for the most part, his addition to the squad doesn't seem too necessary given his overly weak role in last year's triumphs.

Hughes is likely to delve into the market when you take into account his promised £20 million from Mo, yet, the wage structure at the club will by no uncertain terms be compromised, which has more than likely ruled out moves for the likes of Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy.

The new boss has little time to work with but I would expect him to do anything but panic, with new transfers likely to be few and far-between. I'd anticipate Mark bringing in two or three additions safe in the knowledge he has inherited a side capable of reaching a Europa League final.

I'm sure he's noticed the team is in desperate need of firepower alongside the now Internationally accredited Zamora, as well as a play maker to temporarily complement captain Danny Murphy before eventually replacing him.

At risk of being fatally proven wrong, I get the feeling our goalkeeping maestro Mark Schwarzer will be staying by the Thames and Hangeland seems a certainty to play a part in the up and coming term.

Because of this, Hughesey is unlikely to invest much into a defensive department who have gelled well over the last two years and will be looking to improve on only 46 Premier League goals conceded last season.

Tactics: With only one pre-season game to base predictions on, I can see us being tactically similar to the previous two years under Roy, with a few predictable tweaks which will suit the new chief.

Hopefully the attractive football will continue to be something to look forward to on any given weekend, but a more direct style may prove appropriate given the aerial and physical attributes Bobby Zamora possesses.

Against Bremen, for example, the first time passes from midfield in the second half exposed the German's defence far more than the slow, patient build up which was employed in the opening segment of the game.

4-4-2 or any adaption therein (4-4-1-1 e.t.c.) is likely to be a mainstay from Hodgson's era, though, I could easily be proven wrong after a few signings.

Final Standings: Once everything is looked over, even at this early stage, the season ahead looks to be relatively rewarding.

Assuming signings do come and assuming Mark Hughes withholds his reputation of getting his teams to punch above their weight, we could be looking at a decent cup run or two as well as an established, if not very reputable, league finish.

Premier League: 9th

F.A Cup: Quarter-Finalists

League Cup: Finalists/Winners

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2010, 09:13:16 AM »,19528,11681_6301737,00.html

Double blow for N.Ireland

Captain and Ipswich defender sidelined

Northern Ireland have received a double blow with the news that captain Aaron Hughes and defender Gareth McAuley will miss Wednesday's friendly against Montenegro.

Hughes is returning to Fulham after his inflamed Achilles was assessed by the medical team on Sunday night.

Ipswich defender McAuley picked up a back injury in the victory over Middlesbrough at The Riverside on Saturday.

It means three players have dropped out of the squad in total, with Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson being replaced by Alan Blayney of Linfield.

Nigel Worthington's men will be looking to boost confidence ahead of the start of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Northern Ireland have been drawn to face Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia and Faroe Islands in Group C.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 09:30:44 AM »,22162,14340_6302254,00.html

`Bafana can beat Black Stars`

Injured midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is confident South Africa can impress against Ghana at Soccer City on Wednesday night.

The Fulham anchor will miss the Black Stars test with a torn abductor muscle in his right leg, but is nevertheless excited by the challenge ahead.

"I like the fact that they are bringing the big guns," he said on the Times Live website.

"It does not matter for us. The bigger, the better. It is a big occasion for South Africa as well, because we will be going out there to impress our new coach (Pisto Mosimane)," he said

Dikgacoi added that he was pleased with Mosimane's recent promotion to the Bafana hotseat and called on his team-mates to support the former SuperSport United boss.

"It is not a surprise; he has been with the team a long time. It was good that SAFA selected him.

"There must not be this thing of undermining him because he is young and not foreign. We must respond when he calls us up.

"South Africa must not beg players. If someone does not want to come to the national team, we have to leave them alone.

"When the big tournaments come, they should be left out. You either want to be part of the national team or not."

The midweek fixture will be Mosimane's first game in charge of Bafana following Carlos Alberto Parreira's departure after the World Cup.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2010, 09:36:50 AM »

Fan's eye view: By Andrew Binner
9:27am Monday 9th August 2010

Last week Mark Hughes was announced as Fulham's new manager for the 2010-2011 season and the Cottagers should be delighted with the new appointment at Craven Cottage.

Sparky, as he was affectionately known during his playing career that included spells at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United is said to be impressed by the ambition at Fulham and is a good appointment for two main reasons.

Firstly, he is not Jose Mourinhio.

By this, I mean whilst boasting an enviable CV including successful managerial spells of the Welsh national team, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City, he does not grab the limelight at every given opportunity boasting as big, if not a bigger, profile than the club he is serving.

Whilst Real Madrid's new man is undoubtedly a fantastic coach for the top teams in the world, a quieter approach more focussed on the football is what Fulham really need at his point.

In this way Hughes can carry on the great work of last season's manager Roy Hodgson, whilst still implementing his own philosophy and style to the team, as opposed to completely restructuring the club to suit himself and represent his brand; something that “the Special One's” new charges in Madrid can expect this season.

The second valuable asset Hughes could potentially bring to West London is a host of top name signings he brought to Manchester City, who have become disillusioned under Hughes' successor Roberto Mancini, and never really got over the manner in which popular Hughes lost his job to the Italian.

Hodgson's late departure to Liverpool has left Hughes with not as much transfer time as he would have deemed ideal (a notion Fulham Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed publicly criticised Hodgson for this week) but will have Santa Cruz, Ireland and Bellamy in his sights to provide much-needed supplementing last season's front man Bobby Zamora on loan deals if nothing else.

However Hughes has defensive retention problems to address as well as recruitment of fire-power for his first season in charge as his priority for the immediate future has to be to retain the services of veteran Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (currently being courted by Arsenal) and Brede Hangeland (the Norwegian captain).

Following defender Chris Smalling's move north to Manchester United, Fulham managed to capture the signing of Philippe Senderos on a three-year deal for this season, but the manager will be keen to avoid any other departures saying in a recent conference: “It's not my intention to allow the better players at Fulham Football Club to leave the club”.

Hughes is showing signs of being the pragmatic manager the Cottagers need, setting out his ambitions for the club in a recent press conference as a top ten finish in the league and a good run in the cup, despite his new owner Mohamed Al Fayed's jovial protestations to the press (coupled with the symbolic handing over of a £50 note for new signings) that his new manager can “take Fulham to the championship” (meaning the Premier league of course).

Provided Hughes can recruit a new striker, whilst retaining some of last seasons top performers Fulham's new man may just be the man to provide the spark to bigger and better things for Craven Cottage this season.

After a pre season fixture at Werner Bremen to test his new charges for the first time this Saturday, Hughes will be looking to make a winning start to the season with a tough away match at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, 14 August.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2010, 10:19:02 AM »,19528,11681_6302278,00.html

Fulham plot Johnson return
Hughes expects striker to feature next month

By Elliot Ball   Last updated: 9th August 2010   

Fulham have pencilled striker Andy Johnson in for a return to first-team action in late September.

Cottagers manager Mark Hughes revealed the Fulham front man is recovering quicker than expected from a serious knee injury and could be involved in the Premier League as early as next month.

Johnson made just 13 appearances last term and his last outing was back in January before requiring surgery on the problem in February.

The 29-year-old had been hoping to be fit for Fulham's curtain raiser against Bolton on Saturday, but saw those plans scuppered after returning to the United States last month for further treatment following a setback during pre-season training.

But Hughes reckons the former England international could be back playing sooner rather later and will be in the shape of his life when he makes his long-awaited comeback.

"It looks very positive and he's looking to get back as soon as he can," said the Cottagers boss in The Daily Telegraph.

"He's done a lot of physical work while he's been out and the key to it is when he does come back he'll be the strongest he's ever been in his career. We're probably looking at September or October."


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2010, 10:20:40 AM »

Seol rises in second leg of K-League
By Yi Whan-woo

Pohang Steelers’ decision to scout forward Seol Ki-hyeon this season began as he netted goals in three games in a row, and finally put end to the team’s seven-game winless streak, Sunday.

The 31-year-old drew attention as he just made the K-League debut this year despite a 10-year professional career, while missing the whole first half of the season due to injury.

The former Fulham forward actively represented Pohang in the second leg of the season, as he played in all five games as starter since July 10.

His first goal in the league came on his third match cap against Suwon BlueWings in a 1-1 draw on July 25. Seol connected midfielder Hwang Jin-sung’s assist from the left touch line straight into the net with his right in the 5th minute to prove he has fully recovered from knee injury.

The forward showed his first goal was only the beginning for his campaign in the league, as he scored the second on July 31 against the Chunnam Dragons. Pohang was trailing Chunnam 2-0 in the second half, and Seol and Hwang worked together again this time in an effort to upset. Seol connected Hwang’s pass from the penalty arc on the right, and sent the ball beyond the goalkeeper Park Sang-chul in the 59th. Pohang failed to seize its first win since March 20 over Gangwon FC, but managed to avoid a defeat for a 2-2 draw.

On Sunday, Seol’s effort to draw out the team’s first win since March 20 over Gangwon FC shone, as Pohang could shutout Seongnam Chunma 2-0, thanks to the forward’s early goal.

Seol rushed for the ball as he found another forward Joao da Mota’s cross from the left touch line, and tossed the ball lightly into the net with his right in the 6th minute, leaving the 2010 World Cup goalie Jung Sung-ryong helpless. With the additional score by Almir Lopes De Luna in the 52nd, Pohang eventually grabbed its long-awaited victory.

Pohang showed a sign of hope in the remaining season, despite the fact that the team still needs to overcome a 3-6-7 record for the 10th place among the 15 clubs. Seol is expected to make an effective role for the team to climb up to higher standings.

Seol started his professional career overseas with Royal Antwerp in the Belgian league where he scored 10 goals in 25 appearances. He stayed in the European leagues in Belgium and England until 2008 and was loaned to Al-hilal in the Saudi Professional League temporarily from January 2009 . Such a decision came as Seol lacked in playing time at Fulham and was not showing notable plays when he did.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2010, 03:57:53 PM »

Top 5 longshot bets

* Mark Hughes to be August manager of the month
   Odds: 15.0 (14/1)

Everybody loves a good comeback story and pretty much everyone, with the possible exception of Man City owners, would smile if Sparky clocked up this accolade. Fulham play Bolton, Manchester United and Blackpool in August and are more than capable of taking six points from these games. The toughie will be the Red Devils at home but punters should remember the Cottagers have won the past two games against United by a combined score of 5-0 at Craven Cottage. If Hughes can clock up a result against his old club some silverware could be coming his way nice and early.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2010, 03:59:58 PM »

Can Bobby Zamora be England’s missing link?
Fulham Correspondent: Fulham striker gets England call-up – and deservedly so
By Paul Dawson  August 09, 2010

As Fabio Capello looked to revamp his World Cup squad there were some notable additions to the national camp.

For Fulham fans, the most interesting one was the inclusion of Bobby Zamora who was unlucky to miss out on South Africa – although watching England displays from the sidelines due to his injury, the Z-Man might have thought differently.

With Emile Heskey retiring from international football, there is a huge opportunity for a striker to grab the spot next to Wayne Rooney. And there is every reason to think that Zamora can be that man.

We always have a tendency to look at what a player lacks rather than what he actually has in his locker so there will be some doubters regarding Bobby but he is certainly worth a strong shout. We know Capello, like many Italian managers, has a soft spot for a big man up front, as Heskey’s regular appearances under Fabio confirm.

A target man who can be physical and unsettle a central defensive partnership seems a key attribute to get the best out of Rooney. To hold the ball up, bring others into play and build attacks from there. Zamora can do that and much more. His scoring record is a strong one and the potential he has shown for a few years has finally come good.

Okay, so he might not have Defoe’s mad run of goals or Crouch’s goal per game return at international level, but if Heskey can perform and give something to the team without any goal return, then Zamora can certainly do the same but with a greater threat.

Zamora is also more mobile than Emile, has a desire to get on the end of crosses and is a little more feisty – no bad thing for a strapping centre-forward – he won’t be intimidated by anyone.

Scoring goals and linking play in a team that likes to knit their passes together as Fulham have done, has seen such improvements in his touch that national selection was a natural next step.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff 09.08.10
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2010, 04:00:36 PM »

Johnson hopes to impress under new Fulham boss
Aug 9 2010 By Paul Warburton

EDDIE Johnson insists he's got a point to prove to new boss Mark Hughes.
The Fulham frontman has spent the majority of his 30-month stay at Craven Cottage on loan elsewhere, but scored in his first appearance under Hughes in Saturday's 5-1 thumping of Werder Bremen.
But the USA international admits this is last-chance saloon to make an impression in SW6.
He said: “This is the last year of my contract, so a new manager is a fresh opportunity to get a run of games.”