Author Topic: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...  (Read 1094 times)

Offline whitejc

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Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« on: February 03, 2021, 12:15:04 AM »

Sheff Utd
West Brom
Man Utd

Offline whitejc

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2021, 12:16:35 AM »
Josh Maja: Bordeaux striker joins Fulham on loan

 The 22-year-old Nigeria international has completed a short term move to the Premier League side

Premier League side Fulham have announced the signing of Nigeria international Josh Maja on loan from Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux.

As agreed by both parties, the Cottagers have the option to make the deal permanent for the 22-year-old at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

With Aleksandar Mitrovic struggling for form since Fulham’s return to the English top-flight, manager Scott Parker has been desperate to add a striker to his squad. Now, he has the Super Eagles star to count on in terms of goalscoring duties.

“We are delighted to announce the signing of Josh Maja from Bordeaux on loan,” Fulham confirmed the transfer on their website.

“The 22-year-old striker will remain with Fulham for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign, with an option for the deal to be made permanent.”

Speaking to the Fulham website on arrival, Maja – who spent three years in the club’s academy from the age of 11 alongside Jerome Opoku, Taye Ashby-Hammond and Marlon Fossey, expressed his delight teaming up with the English top-flight side.

"I’m really excited and proud to sign for Fulham on loan for the remainder of the season,” he said.

"This is a big opportunity and I look forward to meeting up with the team and working hard to achieve positive results."

Fulham’s director of football Tony Khan claimed Maja’s return to Craven Cottage provides him with an opportunity to prove his worth at the highest level.

"I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Josh back to Fulham,” Khan said.

"He’s made tremendous progress in the years since he left our Academy, and now he’s returning to the club in our first team with an opportunity to earn his place in our squad and prove himself at the highest level."

Maja left Fulham for Manchester City before continuing his career at Sunderland – where he made his senior debut in the League Cup in September 2016.

With this move, he becomes the seventh African in Parker’s team after Neeskens Kebano (Congo), Tosin Adarabioyo (Nigeria), Mario Lemina (Gabon), Ademola Lookman (Nigeria), Ola Aina (Nigeria) and Andre-Frank Anguissa (Cameroon)

He is unlikely to make his debut when Fulham take on Leicester City in Tuesday’s league showdown. Against Brendan Rodgers’ men, they would be targeting their first win in 2021.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2021, 12:17:34 AM »
Report: Carlo Ancelotti was deciding factor as Josh King chose Everton ahead of Fulham

According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, manager Carlo Ancelotti was the deciding factor in Josh King’s decision to choose a move to Everton ahead of Fulham.

Bournemouth accepted bids from the two Premier League clubs ahead of yesterday’s transfer deadline, and it was up to the Norwegian international to choose.

Ancelotti personally convinced King that he is a firm part of Everton’s plans going forward, and that was enough to do the trick.

Turkish striker Cenk Tosun left Goodison Park to join Besiktas on loan earlier on Monday, and the Toffees were keen to bring in a replacement in order to bolster their attack.

Sportslens View

Ancelotti is eyeing a top six finish, and his side would need to score more goals and improve significantly in the final third to boost their chances of playing in Europe next season.

King knows the Premier League well having bagged 48 goals and 14 assists in 161 appearances over five seasons for Bournemouth, hitting double digits in two seasons.

With just three FA Cup goals and two assists to his name in 14 appearances this season, the 29-year-old is not particularly firing on all cylinders at the moment.

However, he could regain his form under Ancelotti’s guidance and a different system, and his pace and ability to play across the front-line will come in handy.

With Richarlison struggling to impress, King’s arrival could help get the best out of the Brazilian given the quality competition that he brings.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin will also be looking over his shoulders right now with the former Bournemouth star definitely planning on giving him a run for his money, and that is exactly what Everton need right now as they look to establish themselves as a top side.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2021, 12:18:12 AM »
Factfile: Neeskens Kebano

The lowdown on our fifth January recruit...

Neeskens was born in Montereau-Fault-Yonne, on the outskirts of Paris.

He is named after legendary Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens, who was one of his dad’s favourite players.

Neeskens was offered a trial by Paris Saint-Germain after impressing at the Clairefontaine Academy.

He enjoyed trophy-laden years in PSG’s youth setup before bring promoted to the club’s Championnat de France amateur team in the fourth division as well as being included in the senior squad for the UEFA Europa League.

In February 2011, the winger made his professional debut as a substitute for Mevlüt Erdinç in a 4–1 victory. The next month, he scored his first professional goal in a 2–0 win over Le Mans in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.

After a brief loan spell in the French second tier with Caen, Neeskens moved to Belgian outfit Charleroi.

It was a move that kick-started Neeskens career. He scored 23 goals in 72 appearances, also chipping in with 14 assists, and in 2015 won the  Ebony Shoe - an award given annually to the best African or African origin player in the Belgian Pro League - as Charleroi qualified for the division’s Championship play-offs.

Neeskens then moved to Genk, continuing to impress with nine goals and six assists in 46 appearances.

A year later, he joined London club Fulham for an undisclosed fee, taking the number 7 shirt.

A colourful character, he proved a hit with the Fulham faithful, with 15 goals and eight assists in one shy of a century of appearances.

Like now Boro teammate Marcus Bettinelli, he has celebrated two play-off promotions with the Cottagers, the latter last season.

Neeskens produced eye-catching form following the season restart last term, scoring five times in four matches as the campaign drew to a close including three free-kicks in as many matches - the first player in the top four divisions to achieve such a feat since Wayne Rooney in 2013.

A French international from Under-17 to Under-20 level, Neeskens switched his allegiance to the Democratic Republic of Congo, making his debut in October 2014. This makes him an international teammate of Britt Assombalonga and Yannick Bolasie.

He has 28 caps to his name, and has scored six goals.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2021, 12:19:32 AM »
Nigeria Striker Maja's First Words After Returning To Fulham For A Second Spell

Bordeaux-owned Nigeria international Josh Maja has returned to Fulham for a second spell, signing a loan deal until the end of the 2020-2021 season. broke the news that the Cottagers were aiming to sign their academy product before the close of the winter transfer market and the London club were able to get the deal over the line before the window shut.

Maja spent three years at the Fulham academy, from 2010 to 2013, playing alongside current Whites players Jerome Opoku, Taye Ashby-Hammond and Marlon Fossey.

In his first words as a Fulham player, Maja told the club's official website : "I’m really excited and proud to sign for Fulham on loan for the remainder of the season.

"This is a big opportunity and I look forward to meeting up with the team and working hard to achieve positive results."

Fulham have the option to make Maja's transfer permanent at the end of this season for a fee of 10 million euros.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2021, 12:20:00 AM »
What can Fulham learn from Brentford?

Let’s talk about every Fulham fan’s favourite team. Brentford. Yes, Brentford. The plucky outfit from down the road that has risen from the depths of League One to the brink of the Premier League over the past decade, despite regularly selling their best players. What is the key to their success? And how can Fulham learn from it?

First of all, to understand the key to Brentford’s success, you must understand game theory, as well as how it is applied to football business. In simple terms, game theory is the mathematical analysis of decision making in competitive circumstances. You don’t really need to know much more than that, but you’ll have to understand how it affects a football club and how the operate.

Off of the pitch, game theory can be applied to football clubs in one-off events, such as the negotiation of a transfer or a contract, as well as the entire outlook on football which a club possesses and how that impacts upon their strategy.

In Fulham’s case, the club has a ‘finite’ game theory. That is a short-term strategy focussing on the event at the end of the season. Namely, promotion to or survival in the Premier League. Therefore, the club takes actions based on these objectives, such as 2018/19’s high transfer spend and then sacking of both Jokanovic and Ranieri in an effort to avoid the drop. However, as we are finding out now, this is detrimental for the future.

This is because Fulham are caught in a cycle caused by the huge broadcast revenues in the Premier League and the relative financial poverty of the Championship. The massive returns that come with being in the Premier League mean that the top flight regulars are comfortably established. Promoted clubs often find that they must spend big to be able to compete. Otherwise, in the cases of Norwich and SC Paderborn, they will spend little instead recouping the one-off top-flight revenue in order to build for the future.

If the promoted clubs who spend big fail to survive, they become trapped in an ongoing ‘yo-yo club’ cycle, as their costs are too high for the Championship and therefore must focus on a short-term plan of promotion back to the Premier League to avoid financial ruin. However, this short-termism is detrimental for the future, trapping the club in said cycle.

So, this is the situation that Fulham is in, but how can we learn from our next-door neighbours?

Since gambling magnate, Matthew Benham, assumed full control of Brentford in 2012, the club has instilled the same values that has made him so successful at playing the bookies. This involves trusting the numbers and writing off any short-term setbacks in favour of sticking to the long-term ‘infinite’ plan. In other words, they have patience in their project which uses slow and sustainable growth as they look past the end of the current season.

Brentford have a well-documented ‘Moneyball’ style of recruitment, involving recruiting players who other players have missed via statistical analysis. However, it is their plan after the simple recruitment which is the genius and that really differentiates Brentford and Fulham’s moneyball techniques.

First of all, Brentford aim for low cost, high reward transfers, aiming to uncover young hidden gems to develop and integrate into the side over multiple years. Whereas, under Tony Khan, Fulham’s strategy has been to identify players to buy using stats, with seemingly little thought to cost or age – as long as they are under 28.

It is the slow development and integration of talent which makes Brentford successful, as the player learns the club culture and playing philosophy through the B team and by working with players further ahead of them in their development cycle. It is this slow, patient approach with unparalleled continuity that breeds success into the future.

For example, after the play off final, Brentford sold Ollie Watkins and Said Benramah, two of their best players, for huge fees and impressive profits. They kept Thomas Frank as their manager and picked up Ivan Toney from Peterborough for just £5 million – an impressively low fee for a player who is currently the league’s top scorer. They also promoted Sergi Canos to a starting role, to replace Benramah, who they have been slowly developing through the B team and then first team since 2017. They have also promoted Marcus Forss, a highly rated young prospect, to a rotational role at centre forward. Marcus Forss is now learning from Ivan Toney and has worked alongside the other Griffin Park success stories like Watkins and Neal Maupay since he joined the club in 2017.

Brentford have managed all of this change whilst remaining one of the Championship’s top sides – currently third in the table on an eighteen-match unbeaten run. They undoubtedly contingency plans to replace every player in their squad as they leave for bigger clubs and it is this consistency that is key. It is a testament to their long-term planning and project as they have committed to incremental improvement whilst leaving within their means. Although the final step has so far eluded them, I can’t help but feel that they will eventually become an established top flight team capable of punching above their weight, even if it takes another decade.

So, what can Fulham learn from this? The first objective has to be breaking the ‘yo-yo club’ cycle. This can be done either by avoiding relegation from the Premier League long enough to become an established side that is comfortably better than any newly promoted teams each year, or by spending a few seasons in the Championship to develop and implement a long-term strategy that promotes low and sustainable growth. Whilst I’m sure that the second is the less popular option amongst fans, it might prove more profitable in the longer term.

To implement this plan, Fulham should shift their recruitment strategy to something more similar to Brentford. The club already heavily uses data within its recruitment, so it just needs a slight change in what to look for. We have seen from the summer window that low cost ‘uncovered gem’ signings utilise Tony’s data system more effectively than the high cost signings that we have previously seen – witness the success of integrating Tosin Adarabioyo into the first team, for example.

However, not only should Fulham be looking to buy cheap young talent, but we should be looking to develop the talent that we produce from our academy. This is a massive strength over Brentford, who scrapped their academy some years ago, and if done correctly we could see youth players constantly breaking into the first team – similar to Southampton in recent years. Ryan Sessegnon is the only real success story from the academy in recent years as players are rarely trusted in the first team, due to our short-term plan. We have seen brilliant prospects leave in recent years – O’Riley, Elliott, Dembele and Drameh for example. If the club gave youth its head and allowed a young manager more freedom without being worried about the impact of relegation then some of these talents might thrive. What’s more, any youth player sales are financially deemed as pure profit – where is the downside?

Finally, could the club restructure and add people with footballing experience to help with workloads and decision making? Could a technical director and a vice-director of football help avoid the mistakes from the past and implement a long-term strategy? Someone with the knowledge and experience being added into the mix couldn’t hurt – especially if it allows the club to complete transfers faster.

The Premier League is clearly the place to be and we all hope that Fulham can stage a recovery to remain among English football’s elite, but if dropping into the Championship prompts a rethink that persuades the club to pursue a long-term plan to achieve sustainability it could deliver real rewards. On the bright side, those glorious Championship away days are better, aren’t they?

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2021, 12:22:49 AM »
Fulham v Leicester City

Wesley Fofana could be one of six Leicester players unavailable because of injury on Wednesday

Fulham could give a debut to their former academy striker Josh Maja, who has joined on loan from Bordeaux.

Terence Kongolo and Tom Cairney remain sidelined by injuries.

Leicester City are likely to be without Timothy Castagne, who was withdrawn against Leeds because of a hamstring problem, while Wesley Fofana will be assessed for a similar issue.

Top scorer Jamie Vardy might return at the weekend after a fortnight out following hernia surgery.

Leicester lost to Leeds on Sunday but it was a really good game. The breakaway third goal was the clincher for Leeds but the Foxes created a load of chances, and it was really close.

Fulham will look back at their draw with West Brom and think they should have made the three points safe early on, but working out why they didn't win after playing quite well is nothing new for them.

The Cottagers' last league win came against Leicester, but I don't think they will be able to handle the Foxes' attack this time.

Prediction: 0-2



    Fulham's solitary defeat in seven Premier League meetings came at the King Power Stadium in March 2019. That was the second match as manager of their respective clubs for both Brendan Rodgers and Scott Parker.
    Leicester are winless in five visits to Fulham in all competitions since a 1-0 victory in the second tier in April 1983 (D2, L3).


    Fulham's current 10-match winless run is their second longest in the Premier League. They went 12 games without a victory between November 2007 and January 2008.
    They could lose their opening four home matches in a calendar year for the first time since becoming a Football League side in 1907.
    The Cottagers' solitary home league win in 11 attempts was 2-0 against West Brom in November (D3, L7).
    They are winless in eight Premier League matches played on a Wednesday since Scott Parker captained them to a 2-1 home victory over West Ham on New Year's Day 2014 (D5, L3).
    Bobby Decordova-Reid has scored seven goals in 22 league and cup appearances in 2020-21. The only season in which he has been more prolific was 2017-18, with 21 goals for Bristol City.

Leicester City

    Sunday's defeat by Leeds ended Leicester's nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
    The Foxes have gone seven away games without defeat in all competitions, their best run for more than five years (W5, D2).
    The 23 away points they have earned from 10 matches this season is second only to Manchester United's tally of 27.
    Leicester have earned just one point from their past four league fixtures without Jamie Vardy.
    They have won only six of their 22 league matches without Wilfred Ndidi since he made his club debut in January 2017 (D3, L13).
    James Maddison has been directly involved in 10 goals in his past 11 appearances for Leicester, as many as his previous 43. He has scored six goals and set up four.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2021, 12:23:51 AM »
Leicester City injury woes mount ahead of Fulham clash as number of absentees rises to six

Leicester City’s injury woes have deepened ahead of their clash with Fulham tomorrow evening, as reported by the Leicester Mercury.

The Foxes are in with an outside chance of winning the Premier League title this term, while Brendan Rodgers ought to be at least optimistic about their chances of securing Champions League football.

The last thing they need at this stage of the season, with the fixtures coming thick and fast, is injuries which could threaten to derail all of their good work to date.

However, injuries are what they’ve been hit with.

The Leicester Mercury report that Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne have both sustained injury problems, which could see them miss out on their trip to Fulham tomorrow.

As mentioned in the report, that’s in addition to the absence of Jamie Vardy, Wilfred Ndidi, Dennis Praet, and Wes Morgan, who are all also ruled out.

Leicester will still fancy their chances of getting a result at Craven Cottage, but it’s not going to be straightforward – especially with that many absentees.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2021, 12:25:57 AM »
Why Fulham let Neeskens Kebano leave, fan disappointment & 'player who can flourish under Warnock'

The view from Fulham on Boro's loan recruit and what he'll offer on and off the pitch

The capture of Neeskens Kebano in the final seconds of the window put the icing on the cake for Neil Warnock.

The boss had been delighted to add the pace and power he craved with the arrivals of Yannick Bolasie and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, but Kebano offers that bit of craft - and the experience, of course, having won promotion from this division before.

Kebano had been on Warnock's radar throughout January but the Boro boss had just about given up hope of signing the Fulham midfielder until he learnt late on there was perhaps a deal to be had after all.

The 28-year-old has played more than 90 times for Fulham since joining the club from Genk four and a half years ago.

The DR Congo international - a teammate of Britt Assombalonga and Yannick Bolasie - only signed a new Fulham contract in the summer after playing a starring role in their promotion to the Premier League, but opportunities have been hard to come by at Craven Cottage this season.

We spoke to Football.London's Fulham reporter Scott Trotter to get the lowdown on the loan recruit, what fans in the capital made of his Craven Cottage exit and what Boro supporters can expect.

What's been the story of Kebano's time at Fulham?

In many respects Neeskens Kebano's story is last year's promotion.

Often during his time at Fulham the DR Congo attacker has been confined to a bit-part role, whether it be through injury or an in form team but at the end of last summer, the stars aligned.

The 28-year-old bagged five goals in four games including both of the play-off semi-final legs, three of which were free kicks.

Before that run, he had barely had an opportunity to impress during 2019/20 and hadn't scored all season but he stepped up when it counted.

What type of player have Boro signed and what's his best position?

As you can probably tell, he has some quality from a dead ball which can be essential at any level.
Kebano can line up across the attacking line but probably looks more at home starting from the wing.

He will drive with the ball at his feet and make full use of the width of the pitch and not necessarily hug the byline.

Even though he hasn't been afforded much gametime this season, during his cameo against QPR in the FA Cup you could see his willingness to inject spark into a game and to give the defence something to think about with a trick or two.

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Given the above, he draws a lot of fouls which complements his ability from a set-piece. He's shown composure in front of goal too despite his numbers not always looking the best, and has the work-rate to contribute defensively.

However, at times he can be slightly passive with his distribution during build up play if he has too much time on his hands.

He finished last season in Fulham's side and signed a new contract. What's happened since and why has he been allowed to leave on loan?

Despite his influence at the end of last season, Kebano has always struggled for first team football during his time with the Whites. His involvement in the Premier League this season has been limited to starting the first game of the season and four substitute appearances, with just a single minute coming since October.

Scott Parker and co have moved on from the early stages and now play a system which doesn't suite Kebano.

Wingbacks make use of the flanks, Ademola Lookman is undroppable and Ruben Loftus-Cheek has started to put a stamp on his spot in the team.

Is he popular with Fulham fans and how have they reacted to his exit?

Given his role in the run to promotion, he definitely has a place in the Cottagers hearts and it seems many were disappointed to lose him on deadline.

After also losing Aboubakar Kamara but only bringing in Josh Maja in return, Fulham have a space in their 25-man squad and supporters see little sense in not making full use of having an attacking option to change the dynamic of the game.

He's also a great character. He works hard on the field and off it, and is perfect for the dressing room in times such as these - a personality that could flourish under Neil Warnock, if he can overcome his competition.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2021, 12:26:33 AM »
Scott's Deadline Day Thoughts

Scott Parker was happy to see Fulham bolster their striking options on transfer deadline day.

Our former Academy graduate Josh Maja arrived on loan from Bordeaux, adding another number nine to Parker's squad.

“I’m certainly very pleased with the signing of Josh,” he said in his press conference on Tuesday. “I think he probably falls into the line of the sort of business we’ve done this year in terms of young talent with big potential, someone we can develop.

“He’s a very good finisher, and I think it was clear that we needed to try and strengthen in that area. We’ve got Aleks [Mitrović] in our squad, but he’s our only real recognised centre-forward, so I’m very pleased.

“Hopefully Josh comes in and we can really push him on. He scored a lot of goals at Sunderland, and that’s the main thing.”

When asked how soon he expects Maja to be able to make an impact, Parker replied: “It’s a good question and it’s not one I can probably answer as Josh is not here at the moment. He comes in today.

“He’s not played over the course of the last three or four games, so in that sense physically we need to see where he is.

“Adaptability-wise, Josh was here as a young boy, he’s played in English football, so I don’t see that as an issue, it’s more just where he is physically, so we’ll have to judge that when we see him.”

The Club also pursued a move for AFC Bournemouth forward Josh King, but Parker is satisfied with the players available to him after the Norwegian chose a move elsewhere.

“We tried to do some other bits, Josh King was getting documented,” he stated. “We tried and we pushed but competing with Everton was a challenge and he decided to go there, and that was that.

“We were trying for both players, we got one, and we’ve got a squad here now which I’m more than happy with.”

Deadline day also saw a trio of players head out on loan, with Aboubakar Kamara, Neeskens Kebano and Maxime Le Marchand moving to Dijon, Middlesbrough, and Antwerp, respectively.

“They’ve just not played a lot of football at the moment,” Parker explained. “I can’t offer them guaranteed football, and the best thing for them, and the best thing for the dynamics of the squad at this moment in time, is for those players to go and get some football.”

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2021, 12:27:04 AM »
Scott Parker Explains Why He Brought Josh Maja To Fulham On Deadline Day

Manager Scott Parker has explained his thinking behind the signing of Bordeaux winger Josh Maja on transfer deadline day.

The Nigeria international learnt his footballing trade at the Fulham academy before moves to Manchester City and Sunderland, so he won't have an issue adapting to life in the Premier League.

Parker revealed that he went for Maja because of his potential and expects him to follow in the footsteps of summer arrivals Antonee Robinson, Tosin Adarabioyo and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Asked at Tuesday's press conference if Maja is set to come straight in and get the goals, Parker answered : "Why? It's just I've not seen him at the moment. We'll have to work it out.

"I've brought Josh to the football club because of his big potential and the work we've done with Tosin, Antonee Robinson, Loftus-Cheek - all of these players have done fantastically well and I think Josh fits into the same bracket".

Maja is expected to link up with his new teammates on Tuesday, a day before they face off with Leicester City at Craven Cottage.

Igho Kingsley

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2021, 12:28:43 AM »
Parker: Maja unlikely to start against Leicester

Fulham are unlikely to name new signing Josh Maja in the starting line-up when they face Leicester on Wednesday.

Scott Parker revealed the striker was only due to arrive in London on Tuesday after a deadline day loan signing from Bordeaux.

The head coach also wants to assess the Maja’s fitness before he throws him in at the deep end.

“He’s not here right now,” Parker said on Tuesday afternoon. “And he’s not been involved (at Bordeaux) over the last three or four games. So we need to assess him physically and go from there.

“But Josh falls into the line of transfer business we’ve done this year; a young talent and one we can develop.

“He’s a good finisher and it was obvious that’s one area we need to strengthen.”

Parker confirmed the club failed to persuade Josh King from Bournemouth to throw his lot in with the Premier League strugglers

King opted to go to Everton instead.

“We tried and we pushed, but competing with Everton was a challenge and he decided to go there,” Parker explained.

The Whites go in search of their first double of the season against the Foxes, buoyed by the absence of striker Jamie Vardy.

“Leicester without him has to be beneficial to us, but they have great players who can cover for him,” Parker said.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2021, 12:29:47 AM »
Scott Parker makes admission over transfer involving Fulham and Middlesbrough

Fulham boss Scott Parker has admitted during his press conference this week that it was the best thing for Neeskens Kebano to leave the club and join Middlesbrough on loan, with journalist Richard Cawley reporting the news via Twitter.

The DR Congo winger was one of a few departures from Craven Cottage last night, with Aboubakar Kamara also departing for pastures new with Dijon in his native France on loan as the Whites boss looked to trim his existing squad.

Kebano has rarely been involved for the club this season since they secured promotion to the Premier League, making just 10 appearances across all competitions for the West London outfit.

Reflecting on the decision to let the 28-year-old leave on loan, Parker had this to say:

With another year remaining on his current deal with Fulham, the pacey wideman will be keen to make a good impression for Boro whilst on loan in the North East over the coming months.

The Verdict

Boro and Neil Warnock have once again come up trumps in the transfer market with this signing and I believe the experienced winger could make a real difference for the club in their upcoming fixtures.

The additions of Kebano and Yannick Bolasie will certainly add a great deal of proven Championship quality to what is an already talented side.

If the winger does indeed impress on loan, I wouldn’t put it past Boro looking to make the deal permanent as he is sure to command a relatively small fee for a player of his age.

Exciting time’s await for the Middlesbrough faithful as the club integrates it’s new signings into the squad.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2021, 12:30:57 AM »
Every word Scott Parker said on Josh Maja transfer, Josh King to Everton & facing Leicester City

The Fulham boss was speaking ahead of welcoming the Foxes to Craven Cottage

How pleased are you with the signing of Josh Maja and what were the last few hours of the transfer window like?

I think firstly, like all deadline days they do bring a little bit of drama. Very pleased with the signing of Josh. He falls into line with the sort of business we've done this year in terms of young talent with big potential.

He's a very good finisher and it was clear we needed too stregthen in that area. We've got Aleks but he's our only real, recognised centre forward. Firstly very pleased with that so hopefully Josh comes in and we can push him on.

We tried to do some other bits, Josh King was that one. We tried and pushed but competing with Everton was a challenge and he decided to go there.

How frustrating is that? Emotional rollercoaster?

Not really emotional because I realise the way the transfers work. We were trying for both players, we got one and we've got squad here that I'm more than happy with.

The last day often brings some different things up but I've realised now in my fourth transfer window, there's a lot of back and fourth and a bit of disappointment and a bit of not until it's closed.

There's an element I like when it's closed. Four weeks you have the uncertainty, we know where we are now and we'll push on.

Looking to Leicester, but you've drawn seven of last nine, how do you transform that into a win?

That's the next step for us and something we need to change. We've changed a lot and that's evident in the numbers there in terms of being hard to beat. Our next challenge is to turn draws into wins, ultimately this is about winning. Everytime we go out there, whoever we're playing we want to try and win football matches. We're giving ourselves a real chance and the fine margins have been really fine. Dominating in a lot of games and had some big chances to win them and we've not been on that side of it.

We'll keep working and keep pushing to change that.

How impressed with Brendan Rodgers job at Leicester and how do you set up against them?

Brendan is someone I have huge respect for in terms of his managerial career and you look at it in terms of where he started, the disappointment of going in places and getting the sack and then building like he did to one of the top managers in this division and in Europe.

His team is always well organised, they are teams that are positionally very good. We put in a good display against Leicester at their place, but I understand the threat they pose, they have huge quality, a very good manager who tactically can look at things as well.

FA Head of Medicine is formulating guidelines and restrictions with regards to heading in training. Do you welcome this and are you conscious of this in your sessions?

That's a difficult one. It's a major part of what we do in the sport and defending and our game. That's a real hard one. I understand the protocols in place for concussion issues and it's something with ongoing research we need to look into. Stopping defenders heading the ball or training that technique, I'm not sure, I would like to see a lot more evidence to prove that is the case and saying that, I played football for 20 years and it was a huge part of my life. I understand where we are with things but certainly regarding it, a lot more research into it and I know we are doing that, I've seen some of the documentaries. If that is the case, and it's proven it's something we should look into.

How has training been since West Brom?

All good, training at the moment you're constantly recovering. There's not a lot of time for intensie training sessions because before you know it you're back for another game, so you constantly do that with tactical work and preparing. That's how where we are.

Where can Fulham cause trouble for Leicester?

We saw that last time we played them. That result, it was a dynamic team that caused Leicester some problems in the night with breakaway goals and good energy about us.

Over the course of the last 11 games, any team playing us realises the challenges they will face and realise they're playing a team that is more than competent.

How important to keep Leicester on their toes?

Very important, this is a big game for us like Leicester after a bad result against Leeds. We head into this game wanting to leave a mark on the game as well.

Playing against a very good Leicester side who are going to be challenging right up there this year but I'd like to think we can put an imprint on it as well.

How long will Josh Maja need before his opportunity?

It's a good question and not one I can probably answer.

Josh is not here at the moment, he comes in today, he's not played over the last three or four games so we need to see physically where he is. Ability-wise Josh was here as young boy, he's played in English football so I don't see that as an issue. Probably more just where he is physically and we'll judge that.

Not a good weekend in terms of results?

If your focus is on that, probably not, that's fair to say. I can't control what Brighton and Burnley do, every weekend would be an emotional rollercoaster for me in that sense.

I can't control it, what we can control is what we can do. We're halfway through a crazy season and there's 18 games to play and my sole focus is us and winning football matches.

If Burnley carrying on winning or Brighton or Newcastle or West Brom, at this moment in time it's not something I'm focusing on. I'm focusing on football matches.

Bobby De Cordova-Reid has spoken about being ruthless, do you need to take risks and be less cautious?

I certainly don't think it's less cautious. If you look at the numbers this is not a team producing minimal amount of shots on goal every game, not getting in the right areas. I don't believe it's being less cautious, I believe we've came up with something here, and worked tirelessly to be more solid but we've not become a team holding out for a set place to come away 1-0 and that's been evident in the games we played. West Brom, on another day, we should be 3-0 up at half time with massive chances.

We've come out of 11 games and probably played seven of the best teams in the league and when you're us, you are going to be limited to possession and chances but even in the games we've had a share.

We need to be clinical in them moments and we are working on that.

Hope after win a the King Power?

Yeah, we realise it will be a tough game. They are a very good team with a huge amount of quality, a very good manager. We understand where we are in this fixture in what people expect to happen.

We've shown in the last few months we can compete with these team, I don't think that will be different tomorrow night.

Jamie Vardy missing, work in your favour?

Jamie Vardy is an excellent football player and a massive part of what Leicester do. Of course a Leicester team without him is beneficial for us.

They do have big quality, Perez played up there last game against Leeds, a very good player, Iheanacho they have the possibility of brining. They do miss an excellent player in Vardy but they have cover.

Aboubakar Kamara and Neeskens Kebano head out on loan, can you explain your thinking?

They've just not played a lot of football at the moment. That's the main thing. There comes a point when you have a squad and you try to manage a squad, players maybe not content with not playing football. To be fair to them, the players we're talking about here, I can't offer guaranteed football. The best thing for them and the dynamics of the squad is for them players to go and get some football. That's the most important thing in them decisions.

So, will Josh Maja take time to get used to playing in the Premier League?

Physically where he is, is something we'll have to work out. I brought Josh to the football club because he's someone who I see with big potential, someone I see we can develop. When you look at the transfer work we've done this season in Antonee Robinson, Tosin, Harrison Reed, Ademola Lookman, even Ruben Loftus-Cheek. These are young, exciting players who need developing, need time, need improving, not had a lot of football and the challenge is the next level of the Premier League. All of these players have done fantastically well and I think Josh fits into that bracket as well. There is a slight risk there because he's not been around the Premier League but not many of these players we signed in the summer, and done some very good business, did as well. That's where I see it.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2021, 12:33:46 AM »
Cairney and Kongolo making progress, says Parker

There’s a sliver of light for Fulham’s two injured players.

Terence Kongolo is back in gentle training after a litany of injuries, while Tom Cairney has made tentative progress in his recovery from a knee problem.

Head coach Scott Parker issued a cautious thumbs-up.

“Terence Kongolo’s trained with us as of Monday,” said Parker.

“(He’s) not done full sessions, it’s modified, so he’s obviously got a little way (to go).

“And Tom’s still moves along a little bit slowly at the moment.

“We are seeing improvements and he’s getting there, but again it’s just a week by one at the moment.”

Captain Cairney has been nursing the current problem since the 2-2 draw with MK Dons in a pre-season friendly at the Motspur Park training ground at the end of August, despite soldiering on until December.

Netherlands international Kongolo has played just 67 minutes since breaking his foot almost a year ago.

Recovering from that injury, the £2m August signing picked up two more – one after the other.

“When players have had long lay-offs there’s a balance between work and not getting injured again, and he’s not been lucky,” Parker said.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2021, 12:36:08 AM »
REVEALED: Fulham shipped controversial striker Aboubakar Kamara out on loan on deadline day after he REFUSED to take part in post-match training following West Brom draw

    Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara joined French club Dijon on deadline day
    Kamara was shipped out on loan after refusing to take part in post-game training
    He went against his coaches' instructions after failing to come on at West Brom

Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara left the club under a cloud as it emerged on Tuesday he refused to participate in a training session following the 2-2 draw at West Bromwich on Saturday.

The French striker left Craven Cottage on deadline day, turning down a move to Championship promotion chasers Middlesbrough in favour of a loan move to Dijon.

But Sportsmail understands his departure was negotiated in strained circumstances after he declined to take part in a short training burst following the draw at the Hawthorns.

Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara left on loan after refusing to take part in post-match training

Kamara was shipped out on loan to French club Dijon on transfer deadline day earlier this week

Kamara spent the entire match on the bench, but it is normal for replacements to have short training sessions, mainly consisting of running drills, after the full-time whistle.

Kamara, it is understood, did not complete his duties despite firm instructions from coaching staff to do so.

On Monday, two days after the match, Kamara was offloaded to Dijon, who are fighting relegation from Ligue 1. The 25-year-old is no stranger to controversy at Fulham, who entertain Leicester on Wednesday night.

In January 2019, he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a security guard at the club's Motspur Park training facility — as revealed by Sportsmail.

At the time, Kamara had been banished from first-team training by then manager Claudio Ranieri for being a disruptive influence, only to arrive at their HQ intent on resolving his future.

Kamara went against instructions after being left on the bench for Fulham's draw at West Brom

Striker's future now looks uncertain with this just the latest controversy in his Fulham career

No charges were brought and he was loaned to Turkish club Malatyaspor, but returned to Craven Cottage last season to play a key role in the club's promotion back to the Premier League, playing in 29 games and scoring four goals.

He even signed a new four-and-half-year contract in December 2019.

Kamara has continued to play a role in the top flight this season, with 11 outings — including two starts. He has also made three cup appearances for Fulham.

But his career in London looks uncertain once more after he was allowed to leave following the issue last weekend.

Asked about the deadline-day departures of Kamara and Neeskens Kebano, boss Scott Parker said: 'They haven't played a lot of football.

'To be fair to them, I can't offer them guaranteed football. The best thing for the dynamics of the squad is for those players to go and get some football.'

Kamara's controversial moments at Fulham

1. Penalty row with Aleksandar Mitrovic, December 29, 2018

Ranieri said he wanted 'to kill' Kamara after he insisted on taking a penalty against his manager's orders in Fulham's 1-0 win over Huddersfield.

The bizarre incident, made worse by Kamara's subsequent miss from the spot, happened in the 82nd minute of the Premier League encounter with the score goalless at Craven Cottage.

As soon as the penalty was awarded, Kamara wrestled the ball from top scorer Mitrovic and ignored all attempts from his team-mates to get the ball back to the Serbian.

Kamara's effort was saved by Jonas Lossl before Mitrovic grabbed a late winner to spare the Frenchman's blushes.

2. Alleged fight with Mitrovic during a team yoga session

Kamara and Mitrovic were allegedly pulled apart after a fight during a team yoga session in the wake of their penalty row.

The fight was reportedly sparked when Kamara started speaking during a moment of silence.

Mitrovic told his fellow striker to 'shut up' in no uncertain terms and the pair had to be pulled away by other squad members.

3. Arrest on suspicion of actual bodily harm at club's training ground, January 2019

Police were called to Fulham's base in Motspur Park due to reports of an altercation involving the French striker.

Karama was arrested after the incident and was banned from the training ground and club activities.

He had already been banished from first team training by Claudio Ranieri.

4. Kamara leaves the club on loan after refusing to take part in post-match training, January 2021

Sportsmail understands his departure was negotiated in strained circumstances after he declined to take part in a short training burst following Saturday's 2-2 draw against Sam Allardyce's men.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2021, 12:37:37 AM »
Parker believes Mitrovic has turned corner

Aleksandar Mitrovic was struggling but Scott Parker believes the striker has turned the corner.

Mitrovic came on as a substitute in the 0-0 draw with Brighton last week, and got his first Premier League start in eight games against West Brom on Saturday.

He set up the first goal for Bobby Decordova-Reid with a sublime pass. As a bonus, he lasted the entire 90-plus minutes.

His body language was calmer, with none of the arms-in-the-air despair seen in previous matches.

“You’re seeing the result of him being taken out of the firing line for a bit; the result of coming out of that pressure cooker that Mitro has been living in,” Parker said.

“Mitro had to watch from the sidelines and see the side do well, and there’s that competition there.

“The fighter that he is, he’s edging to getting back and taking his opportunity.

“That’s the evidence not just from West Brom but Brighton when he played, and I think we saw that.”

Mitrovic has been short of goals, as has everybody else in a white shirt, and Parker believes set-plays has a lot to do with it as they go in search of a first double of the season against high-flying Leicester on Wednesday night.

He said: “It’s something we are looking at.

“In terms of our numbers, we are pretty low on set play goals. We need the habits of attacking the box with real pace.

“The delivery has been pretty good, to be honest, it’s just the actual movement and a real threat of attacking the ball.”

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2021, 12:38:33 AM »
Leicester seek to extend unbeaten away run

Team news

Fulham look to have no fresh injury concerns.

Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy is unlikely to recover in time to face Fulham, while Wilfred Ndidi misses out once again.

Timothy Castagne (hamstring) is a major doubt, but Wesley Fofana (hamstring) will be assessed and has a chance of featuring.
Did you know?

Fulham have lost only one of their seven Premier League meetings with Leicester (W3 D3).

Fulham's Bobby De Cordova-Reid has netted seven goals in 22 matches in all competitions in 2020/21, one more than he managed last season in 46 appearances for the Cottagers. Only in 2017/18 for Bristol City has he scored more in a single season, with 21.

Only Manchester United have earned more away points in the PL this season than Leicester (23), who are unbeaten in their last seven away from home in all competitions (W5 D2). They last had a longer such run between April and December 2015, spanning 14 matches.

Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans has been directly involved in at least one goal in all four of the Foxes’ away contests in all competitions in 2021, scoring three goals and assisting another.
Match officials

Referee: Robert Jones. Assistants: Mark Scholes, Dan Robathan. Fourth official: Keith Stroud. VAR: Lee Mason. Assistant VAR: Lee Betts.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2021, 09:16:16 AM »
‘Fulham’s Positivity Has Been Building’

Evening Standard’s Malik Ouzia believes Fulham have been steadily increasing in confidence since their Premier League victory over Leicester City at King Power Stadium in November.

- Malik Ouzia of the Evening Standard provides an insight into Fulham’s 2020/21 fortunes
- The Cottagers host Leicester City at Craven Cottage on Wednesday (6pm GMT kick-off) in the Premier League
- Fulham recorded a 2-1 win over the Foxes at King Power Stadium earlier this season

The Cottagers returned to London with a 2-1 triumph thanks to first-half efforts from Ademola Lookman and Ivan Cavaleiro, despite Harvey Barnes finding the next for the Foxes late on on Filbert Way.

Since then, while Fulham are yet to register a triumph from their previous 10 Premier League games, they have only lost three of those games – to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

“Since that last Leicester game, although they’ve not won a game since, there’s been a lot of positivity building,” Ouzia told LCFC Radio. “They’ve only lost three games since then, and they were all against big sides – the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

“There was some real positivity building, but most of the draws in that period were good draws, and the last couple have probably been bad draws, really, against teams around them down the bottom end of the table, particularly the West Brom game.

“They were so dominant in the first half and probably should have put the game to bed. Scott Parker said afterwards, to only come away with a 2-2 draw there when you’re not winning any games, let alone many, is a real blow to that momentum that had been building.

“They need to get back on track. It’s not going to be an easy game, but it is against one of the few teams that they have managed to find a way to beat so far this season.”

Like City, Fulham are a side that enjoys to dominate possession, but it is their ruthlessness in front of goal that must improve, Ouzia believes.

He continued: “They’re a team that like to have the ball, so even when things aren’t going well, they’re probably going to have more possession than say West Brom and Sheffield United, and some of the other teams that are down in that part of the table.

“As they’ve improved, they’ve been more competitive in games, playing well, but ultimately not being able to put the ball in the back of the net has been the big issue.”

[Aleksandar] Mitrović is going to be massive. He didn’t really have many chances against West Brom, but some of his hold-up play, he looked back to his past.

Ouzia says key to increasing their record of goals scored in 2020/21 will be the return of Serbia international frontman Aleksandar Mitrović, who impressed in Fulham’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion last time out.

“The difference-maker for Fulham, if they can get him right, will be [Aleksandar] Mitrović, and the first half against West Brom was possibly the best half of football he’s played all season,” Ouzia added.

“He’s been in and out of the team, and in and out of form and fitness, but putting the ball in the back of the net has been the big thing that’s been missing.

“Josh Maja has come in, and they tried to get Josh King, but missed out to Everton. Mitrović is going to be massive. He didn’t really have many chances against West Brom, but some of his hold-up play, he looked back to his past.”

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/02/21...
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2021, 10:47:05 AM »
Talking Heads: Rodgers, Parker, Tielemans & Decordova-Reid Look To Craven Cottage Clash

Leicester City's next Premier League outing takes them to Craven Cottage to face Scott Parker's Fulham on Wednesday evening (6pm kick-off).

- Brendan Rodgers and Youri Tielemans preview Leicester City's next Premier League fixture
- The Foxes face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening (6pm kick-off)
- Scott Parker and Bobby Decordova-Reid spoke to the media for Fulham
- Live coverage of the game begins at 4:30pm on LCFC Radio, available for free

The Foxes were beaten by Parker's Cottagers earlier in the season at King Power Stadium, but nonetheless sit in fourth place in the top-flight standings after 21 matches.

Ahead of the encounter in west London, Brendan Rodgers and Youri Tielemans spoke in the media for City, while Parker and Bobby Decordova-Reid were on press duties in the capital...

Brendan Rodgers outlines Leicester's approach to responding to setbacks: “Our consistency level was very, very good. The game, we could have easily got something from it and it was a game that’s fairly straightforward to analyse. I know for a fact how we work here and the trust we have in our process. That has always been about, when we have had a setback, to look at it and move on. That’s why we’ve been able to move on from some of the games we have lost and gone on to get some fantastic performances and results. We tend not to dwell on it so much. We’ll refocus over these next couple of days and we’ll look to then win the next game.”

Fulham manager Scott Parker told the media this week: “We’re playing against an extremely well organised, very, very good Leicester side who are going to be challenging right up there this year at the right end of the table, but I’d like to think that we can put an imprint on them as well. Brendan [Rodgers] is someone I have huge respect for. In terms of his managerial career, if you look at it from where he started out with the disappointment of going in places and getting the sack, and then building and building like he did. And now he’s one of the top, top managers in this division, and in Europe. His teams are always well organised, they’re very good teams positionally.”

Foxes midfielder Youri Tielemans in conversation with LCFC TV on Monday: “We know that there is nothing else that comes about, other than the pitch, and it’s up to us to perform well and to win the game and focus. We’re having a very good season. We have to stay like this to keep it going. If we can win the game on Wednesday, then maybe we’re back in a good run of games after. It’s going very quickly, but you can see the table is close. We don’t have to think about it, just about our performance and winning games. That’s the most important thing.”

Cottagers forward Bobby Decordova-Reid previews Wednesday's fixture with “They’re a good team. They’ve got a few injuries which might work in our favour. We’ve beaten them once this season and we can do it again. If we go into the game with a good attitude and willingness to work hard, play our attacking football, then we’ll be fine. If we did it once, we can do it again. They’ve just come off a bad result as well. We go into the game knowing that we need a win and that if we perform well, then why not?”

All times GMT.