Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...  (Read 670 times)

Offline whitejc

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Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« on: May 07, 2021, 12:24:34 AM »
Fulham star sends message to Burnley and Newcastle United ahead of crunch Premier League clash

Burnley will secure their top flight status with a win at Craven Cottage on Monday

Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola insists the Cottagers are not dead in the fight for Premier League survival as they prepare to face Burnley on Monday night.

Scott Parker's side are nine points adrift of the Clarets with four games remaining and a win for Burnley at Craven Cottage will secure safety for Sean Dyche's men.

Parker himself said last week that he feels his side can win their remaining four matches and complete a great escape and his keeper insists Fulham are targeting a maximum points haul.

"For me, nothing is impossible," he said. "We still have four games, and we have to win them.

"Of course, it’s been a tough season but I think we’ve shown a lot of good things as well.

"Now we have to reset and be really sharp in the next games. It’s a big challenge, but we’re here for this. I’m here for this.

"I want to help the team and I hope that the team will be fine and healthy. We have to fight, work hard, and be prepared for the next one.

"We are not happy after [Chelsea] but we still have more games, we still have four games to play, to win, and we start on Monday."

The Clarets were winners at Fulham in the FA Cup earlier in the season while the two sides drew 1-1 at Turf Moor in the reverse league fixture.

“We know what we’re expecting,” Areola added. “We are prepared for this game. We have to be really sharp and ready on Monday to beat this team.

"We’ll watch the videos and prepare on the pitch this week to be ready.

"[Scott Parker] is still believing in us, believing in this objective that we have to reach.

"We’re not dead, we’re still here, so we have to fight until the end, and we have to think from now until the next game that we can win it, and that’s it."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2021, 12:25:35 AM »
"We've come a long way" insists Burnley boss Sean Dyche ahead of trip to Fulham
Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits he “would have absolutely ripped your hands off” for the scenario that sees Burnley go to Fulham on Monday night, nine points above the Cottagers with 12 to play for.

Scott Parker’s men sit 18th in the Premier League table, with their survival hopes looking decidedly grim after taking one point from the last 18 available.

Parker accepts his side will have to win their last four games to give themselves any sort of chance, with their final two home games against Burnley and Newcastle United, who b oth have a nine-point cushion.

The Clarets themselves have lost four of their last five outings, as they look to confirm a sixth-successive season in the top flight, although Dyche has been pleased in the main with performances in that spell.

However, the turnaround since game seven, when Burnley had suffered five defeats and picked up draws at West Brom and Brighton, has put the Clarets on the brink of safety, which, taking into account the club’s injury problems over the season, and the abject failure to back Dyche in the transfer market, would tally as one of his biggest achievements at Turf Moor.

Defeat at Fulham would give the Cottagers hope, although they also have to go to Southampton and Manchester United, looking for four wins, having won five of 34 so far.

But Dyche isn’t being drawn into talk of it being a crucial game: “It looks no more tasty than it would have done at the beginning of the season.

“You have to play everyone home and away, so our mentality is firm no matter who we play.

“We’ve come a long way, I’ve mentioned it a lot lately because we have, since game seven when we had two points.

“I haven’t lost sight of that, we’ve had to put a lot of hard work in to this season and still have work to go.

“But if you would have said to me then we’d be where we are now, I’d have absolutely ripped your hands off.

“I think the performance levels are good, the energy is good, the com mitment to the cause is excellent, so I expect us to see out the season properly and play against whoever we play against to try and win.”

Dyche has no new injury worries ahead of the game, with Robbie Brady and Kevin Long expected to again be unavailable.

And Ashley Barnes got his first action, since scoring the equaliser in the home draw with Fulham in February, on Monday night in the 2-1 defeat against West Ham at Turf Moor.

Dyche added: “The focus for me is always every game at a time and that one game at a time mentality.

“We are aware of the season’s work and we have to plan for some of that but the focus is on the next game regardless of what people want to say about it.

“That is the case since we have been here.

“You have got to play everyone home and away and believe you can win games no matter who you are playing, and we have shown a strong mentality towards that for the journey we have been on this season.”

Parker knows it is win or bust on Monday night: “We have to win four games.

“It is a difficult task, but it is one that, with the right way about us, I think we can do.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2021, 12:26:36 AM »
Peterborough United to offer Siriki Dembele a new contract

Peterborough United are expected to offer in-demand Siriki Dembele a new contract, as per a report by the Peterborough Telegraph.

The Posh are looking to fend off interest from elsewhere following their promotion to the Championship.

Dembele, who is 24 years old, is a wanted man going into this summer. Watford, Bournemouth and Brentford are also believed to be ‘big admirers’ of him, as reported by The Sun in January, whilst Football Insider have recently reported Fulham want him.

He is entering the final year of his contract at London Road which expires in the summer of 2022.

Dembele joined Peterborough in 2018 from Grimsby Town and has been a key player for Darren Ferguson’s side over the past three years in League One.

The pacey wide man has played 123 times in all competitions since his move to London Road and has scored 26 goals.

Dembele had spells as a youngster with Dundee United, Ayr United and the Nike Football Academy before Grimsby took a gamble on him in May 2017.

He spent the 2017/18 season with the Mariners in League Two and scored four goals in 37 matches to earn a move to Peterborough.

The Posh are now back in the Championship following their dramatic promotion last weekend and will be hoping their promotion will persuade Dembele to put pen-to-paper on a contract extension.

Brentford, Watford, Fulham and Bournemouth will be keeping close tabs on developments.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2021, 12:30:29 AM »
Season tickets 2021/22

You’ll know from reading the notes of our recent meetings with Fulham, including the latest which are available to read here, that we have been asking for details of season ticket arrangements for next season. The Club have told us that, although they are planning for a number of scenarios, they consider that there are too many variables (division, Riverside availability, Covid restrictions) to be able to make a firm decision at this point.

One concern is the possibility that Covid restrictions continue into next season, limiting capacity to below the number of season ticket holders in 2019/20, which was the last season for which season tickets were sold.

The big question in this eventuality is how should season tickets fairly be allocated and sold?

Should this scenario occur, there would be no perfect way of allocating season tickets that would satisfy everybody. We have identified some potential options and we are interested to know if you think any of these, or something else, would be the fairest. Please could you spare just a couple of minutes to provide your feedback via this very short survey, which includes a ‘free text’ box for any comments.

We would be grateful if you could provide your thoughts before Sunday 9 May so that we can then discuss further with the Club.

Thank you.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2021, 12:32:05 AM »
U18: The Run-In

As Fulham Under-18s approach their final two games of the season, let’s take a look at the current situation.

Steve Wigley’s side are in an ongoing battle with Crystal Palace for the title, with both clubs enjoying massively impressive spells. The young Whites have won their last seven games, recording an incredible aggregate score of 35-3.

Meanwhile, over in South East London, the young Eagles are on a six-win streak and currently hold the top spot.

Despite this, Fulham’s superior goal difference means two wins from their final two games would ensure a second successive league title, along with a shot at the U18 Premier League title against the winners of the northern division. This will be either Manchester United or Manchester City. Fulham’s national final tie against City last season was called off due to the arrival of Covid-19.

While our 18s are currently in the driving seat, if Palace grab a win in their final game of the season this Saturday against West Brom, we cannot afford to drop a single point. Fulham’s youngsters head to Norwich City on Saturday before a shorter trip to rivals Chelsea the weekend after.

Fulham can potentially finish the job off this Saturday, if they win against the Canaries and Palace lose to West Brom.

We will be providing live updates as the action unfolds this weekend.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2021, 12:33:29 AM »
Aina: Diversity was important in my upbringing

Fulham defender encourages schoolchildren to take part in Premier League Draw Together challenge

Experiencing diversity and different cultures played an important part in the upbringing of Ola Aina, and the Fulham defender is keen for the next generation to have the same.

As part of the Premier League Draw Together challenge, Aina is encouraging schoolchildren to draw or paint a picture on the theme of allyship, detailing the positive action they will take to help challenge discriminatory behaviour.

"I grew up in a very diverse area and I got to understand different cultures, different languages, different people, so I think it's very important for the youth to have a diverse upbringing," the south London-born Aina says.

"That's very important because we're all equal in this world, and it's something that, in today's society, it needs to be helped and it needs to be pushed in the right way."

The Premier League Draw Together challenge is the latest free downloadable activity created to support the Premier League's No Room For Racism initiative.

It is available through Premier League Primary Stars, the League's curriculum-linked education programme, which uses the appeal of football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

The Premier League Primary Stars website contains free downloadable teaching resources encouraging classroom discussion on diversity, inclusion and racism.

It also includes interviews with players including Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady and Tyler Roberts who discuss their own experiences of discrimination and the importance of allyship.

See: PL Primary Stars No Room for Racism video pack

The education of fans and young people is just one of the ways in which the League is tackling discrimination as part of its No Room For Racism Action Plan.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2021, 12:35:14 AM »
As Bad As Things Got: Fulham, 24th February 1987

As ever, when professional football is threatened with financial peril, the galaxy-brained have come crawling out of the woodwork to tell us why their version of reforming the game – which somehow always seems to end up benefitting the club most closely connected with the galaxy-brain concerned – is definitely the idea that will save the game from penury. It’s not always a bad thing. Promotion and relegation, play-offs, the entire concept of league football, have all come about because of the game’s need to keep evolving. But it’s also not uncommon to see wrecking balls getting involved, suggesting that to keep football viable, we have to try to kill it.

Few ideas on how to reform football have such a capacity to enrage supporters as mergers, and indeed there hasn’t been one involving a Football League club since Rotherham Town of the Midland League merged with Division Three North side Rotherham County to form Rotherham United in 1925. For a while, though, the idea became popular idea again amongst club owners during the 1980s, possibly most famously when Robert Maxwell announced his plans to merge Reading and Oxford United as Thames Valley Royals, in 1983. Maxwell was beaten back by legal challenge at Reading by a former player who’d become a successful businessman, but the idea didn’t go away.

Robert Maxwell eventually dropped his plans because Roger Smee ending up as the chairman of Reading blocked that club’s interest in moving the plans any further beyond Maxwell’s fever dreams. Maxwell carried merrily on at Oxford for several years before upping sticks and moving to Derby County, leaving his son Kevin to mind the ship at the Manor Ground. When Robert’s empire fell in on itself in the early 1990s, Oxford United almost ended up ruined as well.

The key to this story, however, was that Maxwell wanted to own Thames Valley Royals. He had a vested interest in making it a success, and didn’t lose anything much – Oxford United were in the First Division by 1986 – by trying. But what if those forcing the merger through have no significant interest in football, other than for how the game might be used to leverage a land deal?

Football’s downturn in the first half of this decade affected the whole country. As attendances collapsed across the game, many clubs found themselves facing a financial abyss. As happens at these times, there was a broader conversation about the state of the game. This tended to be drowned out by talk about what to do about hooliganism, partciularly as the decade wore on, but Robert Maxwell’s merger plan came in a world in which there were occasional demands to reduce the number of clubs.

The presented logic to this was that smaller clubs would mean more fans per club, thereby guaranteeing solvency. It was a typical chairman’s solution, which didn’t even seem to consider that most supporters’ attachments are to their club first and the game in a broader sense second and that the most likely outcome of a smaller league would be even fewer people turning out to matches than before, while simultaneously disregarding the possibility that they were running their businesses badly.

But there was also a darker side to this, as well. Two clubs merging into one wouldn’t need two grounds any more, so selling one of them would be expected. But where would the money from that sale go? Into the club’s coffers, one would expect, but the truth can get darker than that. The FA’s effective abolition of Rule 34 – the FA regulation which prohibited directors from being paid, restricted dividends paid to shareholders, and protected grounds from being asset-stripped – in the early 1980s would come to have lasting ramifications for the game in this country.

This was seen most sharply in West London, where one property development company threatened two of London’s better known grounds. Marler Estates purcased the freehold to Stamford Bridge in 1984, which resulted in the formation of the Save The Bridge campaign two years later. Chelsea wouldn’t truly be secure in their home for another decade. A short distance up the road, though, something of an altogether different magnitude was brewing.

At the start of 1983, Queens Park Rangers and Fulham were both Second Division clubs challenging for promotion. By the end of the 1982/83 season, though, Rangers had been promoted while Fulham, who’d been five points clear of fourth-placed Leicester City with five games to play, missed out under controversial circumstances at Derby County on the last day of the season. Derby needed a win to ensure that they avoided relegation to the Third Division and got it, but crowd trouble throughout the afternoon – including a pitch invasion after the only goal of the game, which led to the crowd standing right on the touchline for the closing stages of the match, which resulted in one Fulham player being kicked by a fan while the game was going on and the referee blowing for full-time with a couple of minutes left to play. The Football League allowed the result to stand.

Ernie Clay had taken control of Fulham following the suicide of Sir Eric Miller while being investigated on fraud charges in 1977. Clay had been on the board at Craven Cottage since the 1960s, and wanted to make money off his investment. He brought rugby league to the ground and submitted planning applications to incorporate flats into Craven Cottage, primed to take advantage of its riverside location. Fulham’s failure to get promoted into the First Division in 1983 seemed to be the catalyst for Clay to decide to cash in his chips, and when he did come to sell both the club and the ground, he did so to… Marler Estates.

At the end of the 1985/86 season, Fulham were relegated into the Third Division with crowds, wich had averaged almost 11,000 just three seasons earlier, having dropped to just over 4,500. Queens Park Rangers, however, were a different matter. Following promotion, they had played European football in 1984 (albeit not at Loftus Road – their match against Partizan Belgrade was switched to Highbury because UEFA were unhappy with their artificial pitch) and had ended the 1985/86 season in 13th place in First Division, having also reached the final of that year’s League Cup before losing to Oxford United. Jim Gregory had been the chairman of Fulham since 1964, but on doctors advice he decided to sell Rangers at the end of 1986. And the buyers were… Marler Estates.

The announcement came on the 24th February 1987 from David Bulstrode, who was now the chairman of both clubs. Fulham would be leaving Craven Cottage and merging with Queens Park Rangers under the name of Fulham Park Rangers. The club would keep Rangers’ First Division place, and the Rangers manager, Jim Smith, would be managing the team. The subtext was pretty clear – Fulham would only really continue to exist as part of the name of this new club. There was, of course, immediate outcry from just about all corners of the game. A meeting was held at which the anger at the decision of the property developers was readily apparent, and local councillors spoke out against it.

Fulham’s last match prior to the announcement, a home match against Rotherham United, had been watched by just 2,352 people. Their first home match afterwards, a home match against Brentford, was watched by 5,994. The match was disrupted by a pitch invasion at half-time, and it was rumoured that stewards had opened the gates to let fans onto the pitch. A little earlier at Loftus Road, hundreds of QPR supporters had occupied the centre circle there prior to their First Division match against Manchester City, delaying the kick-off there by twenty minutes.

While the protests continued, the team’s form in the league collapsed. At the time of Marler’s announcement, Fulham had been in 13th place in the Third Division. From the Brentford match on, though, they failed to win any of their next eight league matches, but at this point it rather felt as though the truly important battles were going on away from the pitch. Jimmy Hill, who’d spent most of his curtailed playing career with Fulham, fronted a consortium containing Cyril Swain and David Gardner, but the power behind the throne was local-born businessman Bill Muddyman, who would become the vice chairman but also the money behind the consortium.

By the second week in April, the proposed merger was dead in the water. The Football League confirmed that they would not be allowing a name change, and it was clear that the council were not willingly going to let Craven Cottage be demolished, even though they had previously given planning permission to Clay for the site to be developed. Hill’s consortium managed to wrest control of the club from Bulstrode, and on the 11th April 1987 his faced beamed out from the cover of the match programme for their game against Chesterfield, above the slogan, “Happy days are here again!” Fulham beat Chesterfield 3-1, their first win in eleven matches, and ended the season having done just enough to keep themselves clear of any significant relegation danger, finishing in 18th place.

The aftermath of the Bulstrode affair would come to wreak havoc upon Fulham for a full decade, though. The Hill-fronted consortium had wrested ownership of the club, but they didn’t own the ground. That remained the property of Marler, who were subsequently sold to another company, Cabra Eastates. A storm, however, was brewing in the property market, and the crash that followed pushed Cabra into liquidation, with the Royal Bank of Scotland, who had a charge secured against Craven Cottage, emerging as the club’s new landlord. Bulstrode died suddenly at the age of 48 in September 1988, reportedly in the arms of, the use the vernacular of that year, “his blonde mistress”. Rick Thompson took control of QPR shortly afterwards.

In February 1993, and with Fulham’s lease on Craven Cottage ticking down towards a deadline of the 31st May, supporters unveiled their ‘Fulham 2000’ scheme, inviting supporters of all clubs to join for £10, with all monies raised going towards the cost of a high-profile campaign to get ownership of the ground back. The bank agreed a short-term rental back to the club, on the proviso that they make provide plans to redevelop the site, thereby adding to its value.

By this point, Fulham needed all the help they could get. They were relegated into the new Division Three (formerly Division Four, now League Two) in 1994, and their slide didn’t end there, either. With the club’s finances remaining in a somewhat perilous position, they finished the 1995/96 season in 17th place in Division Three of the Football League, just six places from relegation into non-league football and the worst finish in the history of the club.

In 1997, however, everything changed again. On the pitch, the 1996/97 season ended with Micky Adams taking the team up to Division One as runners-up, separated only by goal difference from champions Wigan Athletic. The following summer came a more important victory still for the club. The club had an option to purchase Craven Cottage for £7.5m with some time left to run, but in July it was announced that the Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed, though The Muddyman Group, had purchased the club with enough money for it to buy back from the bank. Fayed threw money at the team, and by 2001 Fulham were a Premier League club.

Even then, though, Fulham’s future wasn’t completely secure. No work had been carried out on Craven Cottage for years, and even with promotion to the Premier League the ground still had terracing. Such had been their rate of acceleration that they weren’t breaking any rules for a season, meaning that Craven Cottage saw the last standing at a Premier League match during the 2001/02 season. This, however, couldn’t last. In February 2002, Fulham announced that they would be ground-sharing at Loftus Road while Craven Cottage was redeveloped.

After a season and a half at Loftus Road, however, no work had been done on Craven Cottage. During this time, many Fulham fans only went to away games in protest of moving from Craven Cottage.’Back to the Cottage’, later to become the ‘Fulham Supporters Trust’, was set up as a fans pressure group to encourage Fayed and his advisers that Craven Cottage was the only viable option for the club. In December 2003, plans were unveiled for an £8 million refurbishment work to bring the ground into line with Premier League requirements. With planning permission granted, work began in January 2004 in order to meet the deadline of the new season, and Fulham finally returned to Craven Cottage. Plans to further redevelop the ground, increasing its capacity from 22,000 to 30,000, were granted in the summer of 2012.

Fulham, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers all emerged from this period with their clubs and their grounds intact, but they were the lucky ones. Across London and the south-east of England, property developers and morally bankrupt owners had declared war on football clubs, picking off their ancestral homes to be redeveloped over a period of years. Charlton almost lost The Valley. Wimbledon did lose Plough Lane. There was merger talk involving various combinations of Crystal Palace, Brentford and Wimbledon. West Ham United jettisoned the Boleyn Ground for the London Stadium.

Further down the pyramid, things were even more desperate. Non-league clubs, without the large support bases that could kick up a stink and sway popular opinion, were particularly hard hit. Leytonstone, Ilford and Walthamstow Avenue were forced into an unseemly merger with Dagenham in 1992, their grounds all having been sold for housing. Local rivals Enfield, Hendon and Barnet all lost theirs, along with others, such as Edgware Town and Fisher Athletic.

Leyton, one of London’s oldest amateur clubs, folded in 2011, a year and a half after chairman Costas Sophocleous and former director Philip Foster pleaded guilty to their parts in a £16 million VAT fraud which led to them being sent to prison for 8 years 3 months and 5 years 3 months respectively. Their former home still sits derelict. Dulwich Hamlet only managed to stay in their ground after an almighty fight with property developer owners.

Fulham and Craven Cottage, however, did survive, and the ground is now well-known as one of English football’s most unique venues, even allowing for redevelopment work that remains ongoing. But they only did so because the a lot of people fought for the club when it needed people to do so. Had the fans not protested, had a former player not launched a high-profile campaign to save the club, and had the local authority provided more encouragement to Marler Estates, things might have turned out very different indeed.

And the merger has fallen from fashion. Even in the non-league game, in which every day is a fresh battle for survival, there have only been a handful at senior clubs in recent years, and there now seems to be a general agreement that mergers that are pushed through without the full consent of both clubs involved will only likely lead to the death or diminishment of both of the clubs involved. In the 1980s, it often felt as though supporters were the only people who could clearly see or cared about this existential risk. When you can’t trust the people running the clubs or the bodies that are supposed to be regulating and protecting the game, the fans themselves became – just as they are now, in all honesty – just about the only people who could be trusted. The threats have been there for the last forty years. All that’s changed has been the amounts of money concerned.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 12:35:59 AM »
Fulham loanee’s ‘desire isn’t to return’ to main club – His future ‘shouldn’t’ be there, glimmer of hope for Cottagers

Loaned to Fulham for the season, Alphonse Aréola has been a shining light in what has been a very disappointing season for Fulham.

Spending some money to try and maintain their Premier League status following their promotion from the Championship, the Cottagers have failed in their efforts, with relegation right around the corner.

Fulham have the option to buy Aréola at any point before the end of his loan, but the prospect of second tier football might put him off a prolonged stay in the capital.

That being said, Le Parisien in France report he also doesn’t want to go back to Paris Saint-Germain, where he knows a first-team spot is off limits as long as Keylor Navas is under contract there.

The newspaper state ‘his desire isn’t to return’, and his future ‘shouldn’t be in Paris’, meaning the club will likely look to sell him to the highest bidder.

His time at Fulham will have certainly impressed more than one English club, meaning he could very well end up in the Premier League, just not with the Cottagers.

That is, of course, unless the London based side prove to be incredibly convincing and make him promises they will need to keep beyond next season for him to stay.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2021, 12:36:53 AM »
Sean Dyche issues injury update ahead of Burnley’s game at Fulham
It's "so far, so good" as Sean Dyche assesses his squad ahead of Monday night's game at Fulham.

While Burnley will again be without Robbie Brady and Kevin Long, Dyche has no further injury worries as the Clarets look to rubber-stamp a sixth-successive season in the Premier League.

Top scorer Chris Wood and midfielder Dale Stephens have both had knocks over the week, but both will be available to face the Cottagers.

Dyche said: "We'll still be missing Robbie and Kevin Long.

"Dale Stephens is carrying a bit of a knock, that might have to be dealt with over time, but he was okay to train today.

"So so far, so good.

"Woody had a bit of a dead leg, he was labouring a little bit in the last game, but he's come through that fine.

"Popey is looking strong as well, so we're hopeful for those two.

"Barnesy is looking stronger and sharper, and fitter in training - we believe in the intensity the lads put into training, and he and we have used that to get him at least up to a level where he can certainly be part of the squad."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2021, 12:38:28 AM »
Dyche: We're In Good Shape For Run-In

Boss happy with Clarets' form ahead of final four games

Sean Dyche believes the Clarets are still well placed to deliver a final push for Premier League safety.

Burnley go to Fulham next Monday night knowing that victory at Craven Cottage will guarantee top-flight status for a sixth successive year.

The Londoners – 18th in the table – are currently nine points behind Burnley with four games left to try and escape the relegation places.

And Dyche feels that despite winning just one of their last five games, his team is playing well enough to successfully negotiate the run-in.

“We’ve got four games to go,” said the Burnley boss.

“We have to stay focused on the next one, while also allowing ourselves the reality that there are four games to go.

“That’s something we have to factor into our thinking – although the next one’s the most important.

“We’ve had lesser runs of form and created a lot more points on the table.

“Our actual form has been good. I didn’t think it was a bad performance, remotely, against West Ham. I thought they were very good.

“Our performance level was still high. Our physical level was brilliant that night, so I think the players are in good shape to take on the next four games.”

Monday night’s 2-1 loss to top-four hopefuls West Ham extended the Clarets’ winless home run to eight games.

But since beating Aston Villa at Turf Moor at the end of January, Dyche’s men have collected 14 points home and away to take their tally to 36.

And having taken just two points from their first seven games, that run of form has put them within touching distance of safety.

“The players deserve massive credit for getting the season back on line and then delivering a very consistent level of performance to get the points we’ve got,” Dyche added.

“I’ve seen lately performances don’t guarantee you win a game. But they give you a much better chance and a much better chance over a consistent period.

“I think that’s what we’ve looked for and the players have delivered that this season to get to where we are and now it’s about going strong for the last four games.”

Top scorer Chris Wood will be fit to face Fulham after coming off late on against West Ham with a dead leg.

Midfielder Dale Stephens – who was part of the starting line-up that knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup with an impressive 3-0 win at Craven Cottage in January – is expected to be available, despite a knock that may require some intervention at some stage.

But Robbie Brady and Kevin Long, who scored the final goal in the cup win, are both still out.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 07/05/21...
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2021, 12:41:39 AM »
Premier League predictions: Lawro v The Sherlocks drummer & Sheff Wed fan Brandon Crook

Manchester City will secure their third Premier League title in four seasons if they beat Chelsea on Saturday, in a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final at the end of this month.

"Usually I'd be thinking City will want to wrap the title up, but their manager Pep Guardiola might decide he wants to revamp his team," BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson said.

"I don't think Guardiola should rest people on a day where they can win the league, but, also, that runs the risk of Chelsea beating them for a second time in the space of a few weeks - after they knocked them out of the FA Cup."

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week's guest is Brandon Crook, drummer with Yorkshire indie band The Sherlocks - whose new single End of the Earth was released in April.

Brandon is a Sheffield Wednesday fan who is hoping the Owls can pull off an amazing last-day escape from relegation on Saturday.

The Owls are second-bottom of the Championship but will survive if they win at Derby and Rotherham fail to beat Cardiff, a scenario that would keep Wednesday up and relegate the Rams and the Millers instead.

"It's going to be a horrible day," said Crook. "It's a massive game for us and Derby, but you have to throw Rotherham in there because, if they get a result, we could win and still go down.

"That's how tight it is. It seems very unlikely that we can do it, but I'm trying not to think about it like that. We've just got to look after our end of things, and hope everything else goes our way."

It is 21 years since Wednesday were last in the Premier League but they came close to returning twice, in 2016 and 2017 when they lost in the Championship play-offs.

"We were on tour for the 2016 play-off final, so I couldn't go to Wembley," Crook explained. "Instead I watched the game on a little flip-down screen in the back of a van on our way to a gig in Bristol.

"I was properly deflated when we lost to Hull, because we'd had such had a good season and done so much good work.

"It's a bit like how this season will come down to one game on the final day, but you are in that situation - good or bad - because of how you've done over the whole campaign.

"We are too big a club to be going down to League One again, but we have had plenty of opportunities to get out of trouble, and we haven't taken them. If we go down, we will deserve it.

"Getting six points deducted was obviously a big blow and I've lost count how many managers we've had this season, so there is no stability there.

"But I think the biggest problem with Wednesday is that we just don't score enough goals - once we go behind we never seem to be able to come back and win a game, ever.

"We can't hold on to a lead either, so you can sort of see why we are where we are in the table - we've got it bad all the way around.


Leicester v Newcastle (20:00 BST)

Newcastle are not mathematically safe yet, but they played like they were when they lost to Arsenal last week.

Leicester have still got plenty to play for this season, and a win here would be another big step towards securing a top-four spot.

The quicker they get that wrapped up, the better - then they can focus on the FA Cup final.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Brandon's prediction: Newcastle had started to pick up a bit before they lost to Arsenal last weekend. Leicester will edge this one though. 2-1

Fulham v Burnley (20:00 BST)

Fulham are another side whose time in the top flight is running out. Even a win here will only delay the inevitable.

Burnley know a point will make absolutely sure they are safe, but I am expecting them to get all three.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Brandon's prediction: This is a tough one to predict but I don't think Fulham will get the win they need. 1-1.

Lawro and Brandon were speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.