Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)  (Read 3632 times)

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Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« on: February 12, 2010, 06:35:46 AM »
Cup of Hope

Thursday 11th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham face two consecutive cup matches as the Whites first take on Notts County in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup at the Cottage on Sunday, before Shakhtar Donetsk come to town next Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

With a place in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup at stake this weekend, Roy Hodgson looked ahead to Sunday's encounter at the Cottage.

“Any competition we can win is a major competition because basically our success has been getting into the Premier League and staying there,” said Hodgson.

“I don’t think we can ever dismiss the fact that winning a trophy for Fulham would be a Red Letter Day. There would be very few people putting money on us to win the Europa League given the level of competition and the fact that some of our very best players are not available to play between now and the rest of the season.

“The FA Cup – maybe we’ve got a slight shout. We’ve been lucky with the draws. We’ve played Swindon, Accrington and now we’re playing Notts County so we can’t say the draw has been unkind to us.

“It’s in our hands and if we can do well on Sunday and get through, who knows what the next round would bring. We have high hopes and aspirations. There’ll be lots of tough nuts to crack before we get there and we’re aware of that.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2010, 06:37:22 AM »

Schwarz happy to be back on track

by Dan on February 11, 2010

Mark Schwarzer was happy to help Fulham continue their improved form with a win over Burnley this week, although the Australian goalkeeper concedes that there were a few nervy first-half moments at Craven Cottage.

In the second-half we looked more at ease. I thought Burnley at times were very dangerous. Even at two-nil up just before half-time, we went through a period where we made a couple of silly mistakes and got a bit complacent.

We were made aware of that at half-time and made sure that we started the second-half in confident fashion and cut out any minor mistakes that could allow them back into the game.

It was very important that we got back to winning ways as we’d gone quite a number of games without winning – it wasn’t pleasant and we needed to get back on track because before long you start looking over your shoulder at what’s going on below.

The boys fought very hard over the last couple of weeks to get results. Before our last three results, we played some pretty decent football but we always had nothing to show for it, which was probably the most frustrating thing of all.

Obviously when you’re picking up no points from five games, you start to drift down towards the bottom half of the table. That always starts to play on your mind but we were always confident in our ability to grind out a couple of results. We did that against Portsmouth and Bolton and that gave us a platform to build on. The performance against Burnley certainly showed that the confidence is back again. The dogged defending and solidity that we’ve shown over the last 18 months has come back and we deservedly won that game.

Schwarzer says Fulham will treat both of their next two opponents – League Two Notts County and Europa League holders Shakhtar Donetsk – with the same level of respect.

The way we’ve been playing, we would liked to have continued playing league games. Saying that, the Cup is an opportunity for us to change focus a little. The FA Cup is a fantastic tournament to be involved in. I’ve been fortunate over the course of my career to be involved in the latter stages of the Cup quite a number of times. It’s the most historic cup competition in the world and the way things have panned out so far means it’s going to be a very interesting competition this season.

The one thing we can’t do is take Notts County for granted. They’re going to come to the Cottage with a lot of confidence having beaten Wigan in the last round. It’s going to be a very tough game for us.

We’ve come this far in both the FA Cup and Europa League, so why can’t we go any further in both competitions? I believe we’re good enough to do it but we have to go out there and perform. We can’t underestimate any team, regardless of what league they playing in – whether it’s Nott County or Shakhtar Donetsk.  We’ve got our work cut out for us in the next two games.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 06:42:06 AM »
Sven Goran Eriksson set to leave Notts County as League Two club is sold for £1 to ex-Lincoln owner Ray Trew

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 12:24 AM on 12th February 2010

Former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson has left his position at Notts County after the League Two club were sold for £1.

A consortium of investors bought out executive chairman Peter Trembling's majority shareholding.

Trembling, who completed a management buy-out of the club from the Munto Finance group in December, has signed over his 90per cent shareholding and left the club with immediate effect.

Eriksson joined County in the summer but has recently been linked with the task of leading Nigeria at the World Cup, and other jobs.

A statement by Trembling on Notts County's official website, said: 'I am delighted to announce that the search for investment into this football club has concluded and I signed over my 90% shareholding in the club and hence the ownership to a new consortium.

'This consortium will reveal themselves and their plans for the club at a press conference on Friday.

'We have been on a relentless search over the last couple of months for parties intent on and able of investing £25million - £50million into Notts County.

'I have said all along that for relatively little investment and the capability to build thereafter, this opportunity represents one of the best, pound for pound in football.'

He added: 'However, the biggest challenge all along has been time and it has proved impossible to secure the major investment in the tight timeframes we have.

'The new owners of the club are not of the £25million-plus ilk but they do know the football business and most importantly have sufficient funds available to ensure the immediate survival of this football club and not least in view of our court case in less than two weeks' time.
'In addition they are intent and focused on promotion this season which has been the major objective from day one.

'Accordingly I am satisfied with our due diligence and that I am passing the baton over to people who can take this football club forward.'

Trembling claimed the club was 'left in a desperate situation courtesy of Munto Finance' and promised to go into more detail at a later date.

He added: 'I will be at the Fulham game on Sunday and can think of no better stage than an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Premier League opposition to say my farewells.'

Trew is thought to have bought the club for a nominal fee but County have debts which total more than £1.5million.

The club are due back in the High Court on February 24 to face a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs for an unpaid tax bill. Former manager Ian McParland and Nottingham Rugby Club are also thought to be owed money by the club.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 06:44:28 AM »

Fulham v Notts County: match preview

Read a full match preview of the FA Cup fifth round game between Fulham and Notts County at Craven Cottage on Sunday Feb 14 2010, kick-off 15.00 GMT.
By John Ley

Published: 6:00AM GMT 12 Feb 2010

Sunday, February 14

Fulham (Premier League, 10th) v Notts County (League 2, 7th)
Craven Cottage
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT.
TV: Highlights ITV.

Fulham are in the fifth round for the seventh time in nine years after beating Swindon and Accrington Stanley and they face Notts County having gone three games and 316 minutes since they last conceded a goal, following Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Burnley.

County beat Wigan at the DW Stadium in a fourth round replay to reach round five for the first time since 1992, and they are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 19 years. Two previous meetings in the Cup, both at Meadow Lane, saw Fulham win 1-0, in 1926 and 1956.

Fulham miss John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky, Zoltan Gera, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Andrew Johnson.

FA Cup meetings: Fulham 2 wins, County 0 wins, Draws 0.

Stat of the game: Fulham are unbeaten in seven home games against Notts County, who last won at Craven Cottage in October 1979.

Referee: Alan Wiley. Matches: 25. R3 Y82.

Betting tip: No shocks Sven; 3-1 to Fulham at 11-1.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 06:47:17 AM »
THE FIRING LINE: Brucey bonus for Gianfranco Zola as Sunderland boss Steve denies West Ham man top spot in our list of those set for the sack

By Tom Bellwood

Last updated at 12:01 AM on 12th February 2010

Gianfranco Zola may have received the dreaded backing from the board but we have good news for the Italian boss - he’s not top of our list of bosses on their way out.
Bosses continue to get the boot in other leagues but it has been a few weeks since a Premier League gaffer got the chop … and we know that won’t last, but who is next?

Each week we bring you our latest chart of the managers under pressure, and those on Easy Street.

Here's Sportsmail's sack-race rankings - otherwise known as The Firing Line.

1 Sunderland - Steve BruceIts 12 games since a win for Bruce who has watched his side lose confidence and plummet down the table since November's win against Arsenal – the team they face next. UP THREE

2 West Ham - Gianfranco Zola
Yes, it was a fantastic result against Birmingham, but Zola received the dreaded backing from the board this week and the rumours persist about Mark Hughes. Hull are next. UP FOUR

3 Portsmouth - Avram Grant
You’ve got to admire the spirit the players are showing... well, there’s not much else to admire about Pompey. In the drop-zone and skint but surely won’t lose to Southampton? DOWN TWO

4 Burnley - Brian Laws
Its 14 games since the Clarets kept a clean sheet – a stat that could well be the key to their demise this season. Laws will be hoping for a zero in Villa’s goals column a week on Sunday. UP FIVE

5 Hull City - Phil Brown
Brown described Boateng’s red at Rovers as ‘nonsense’ but the fact is Hull are just one point above the relegation places and slumping after two wins since November. Hammers next. UP TWO

6 Blackburn - Sam Allardyce
Mid-table mediocrity will suit Allardyce come the end of the season but it has hardly been inspiring stuff from his side this season. They have a north west derby with Bolton soon. UP TWO

7 Wolves - Mick McCarthyWrite McCarthy off at your peril – just when his side seems doomed they take three points of Champions League wannabees Spurs. Can they repeat the feat against Chelsea? DOWN FIVE

8 Wigan - Roberto Martinez
Winless in four but Martinez’s side did move out of the relegation positions with the point against Stoke - they can move further away with a win over Bolton on Wednesday. DOWN FIVE

9 Bolton Wanderers - Owen Coyle
For all the smiles and handshakes, slapping of backs and good riddance to Gary Megson, things haven’t improved vastly for Wanderers, who remain in the bottom three. Spurs next in the Cup. UP TWO

10 Stoke City - Tony Pulis
Pulis’ side remains unbeaten in 2010 and aren’t conceding many but the threat of a relegation scrap still hangs in the air – they return to league duty after a cup clash with Man City. UP TWO

11 Liverpool - Rafa Benitez
The defeat at Arsenal was their first in eight and the Champions League places are well within Rafa’s grasp – but can they regain their momentum? European duty first, next Thursday. DOWN SIX

12 Fulham - Roy Hodgson After a run of five defeats, Hodgson’s side are now unbeaten in three and desperate to not end the season badly after a great start. A potential banana -skin match with Notts County next. DOWN TWO

13 Aston Villa - Martin O'Neill O’Neill has crafted his side to be a very tough nut to crack – they have the meanest defence in the league and are still in with a top-four shout. They’re away at Palace in the Cup next. NON-MOVER

14 Tottenham - Harry Redknapp According to Redknapp, Wolves was the worst performance of the season but the bad games are mounting up as the cracks begin to show in Spurs’ Champions League quest. Bolton next. UP THREE

15 Birmingham City - Alex McLeish
It’s only a blip but after the fantastic run they were on, they’re allowed the occasional slip. The push for a top-four place resumes with the clash against Fulham but Derby are next in the Cup. UP ONE

16 Man City - Roberto Mancini
The record shows that Mancini has lost as many games as Hughes in half the time but they are well in the mix for a Champions League place and have Stoke in the Cup on Saturday. DOWN ONE

17 Everton - David Moyes
A Europa League berth has to be on Moyes’ radar after a remarkable turn around in fortunes as relegation fodder have become league-leader beaters. Sporting in Europe next. DOWN THREE

 18Chelsea - Carlo AncelottiThe season remains wholly unpredictable, and doesn’t Ancelotti know it. Convincing Arsenal win followed by defeat at Everton - all a bit patchy for the Blues who have Cardiff next. NON-MOVER

19 Arsenal - Arsene Wenger
Both defeats to Chelsea led pundits to write off the Gunners’ title challenge – a foolish move and Wenger believes their run-in is the easiest. Porto next in the Champions League. NON-MOVER

20 Man United - Sir Alex FergusonSir Alex’s side are now enjoying a short break after their exertions Arsenal, Pompey and  Aston Villa and they have a trip to face David Beckham’s AC Milan next. NON-MOVER

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 06:49:30 AM »

Fulham - Surely Shorey Should Stay?

I must say, when I heard the news we had managed to bring in Nicky Shorey on loan I was pretty surprised that we were able to bring in such good cover at such short notice. Good left backs are hard to come by and he was, by no doubt, a good left back.

The news that Roy planned to sign him permanently though, came as a slight surprise to me. Surely that would leave two good quality full backs fighting it out week by week?

Of course, competition is good but one of the pair would be bound to get a tad disappointed with falling second to the other.

Konchesky is an attacking left back, holding pacey and creative attributes that are essential to our style of play whilst Nicky Shorey is probably slightly more defensively stable, which is something we've been begging for in that position.

To have two very good players in one position seems slightly greedy of us, don't you think?

In my eyes it would be difficult to rotate the two, and, if you had asked me 2 or so weeks ago I would have said 'keep Paul'. Now though, I'm not so sure.

Shorey has been nothing short of top-drawer in the short number of games he has featured in for is so far, and the lad looks like a revived player.

I've never felt more comfortable when the opposition come attacking down the right and his reliable defensive abilities would be invaluable to our proud defensive record over the past 2 years.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 06:54:00 AM »

Capello is due to name his squad for England’s March 3 game against Egypt on February 27 – the same day Bridge and Terry are due to face each other in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian’s tricky task to reconcile the pair has been made even more ­difficult by the fact Bridge is likely to be in his starting line-up for most of the ­pre-World Cup games.

Cole seems certain to miss the rest of the domestic season, which would leave him struggling for match fitness ahead of England’s World Cup opener on June 12.

Bridge has hinted he will not let Terry’s actions deny him the chance to go to South Africa.

But any doubts on Bridge’s part would hand Capello a problem at left-back, where he is short of cover.

Stephen Warnock has had an impressive ­season at ­Aston Villa but is currently struggling with a shin ­injury, while Nicky Shorey is only getting to grips with top-flight football again ­after a loan move to Fulham.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 06:56:11 AM »

Fulham’s Dempsey on the mend

12.02.10 | Andrew Slevison

Fulham’s Clint Dempsey is expected to return to full training a lot earlier than first thought after injuring his knee.

The USA international damaged knee ligaments in the Cottagers’ loss to Blackburn Rovers on January 17 and was initially supposed to be out for a several months but his rehabilitation is going well and he is due to return to training within four weeks.

The news is a major boost for Fulham who are chasing Europa League success as well as Bob Bradley’s national team in which Dempsey plays a key role.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 11:49:37 AM »

Bishop warns Fulham: Write us off at your peril

Friday, February 12, 2010, 07:00Comment on this story

NOTTS County midfielder Neal Bishop today warned Fulham – "Write us off at your peril."

The Magpies face Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

It is the first time they have reached the last-16 in 18 years.

Bishop knows no one will give Notts a chance of winning because Fulham are tenth in the Premier League and have beaten Manchester United and Liverpool at home this season.

But after beating Wigan Athletic 2-0 in a fourth round replay, Bishop believes they can cause another major upset to get into the quarter-finals.
 He said: "The pressure is totally off us and all on them.

"We can enjoy the build-up and enjoy the occasion but we are not going there just for a day out.

"We were not outclassed in two games against Wigan in the last round and that has given us more than enough confidence to go to Fulham to try to win.

"I don't think anyone outside our dressing room thought we could go to Wigan and win.

"It will be the same on Sunday. People will be writing us off but there is a quiet confidence about us at the minute."

Bishop reached the fourth round of the Cup with Barnet two years ago but lost to Bristol Rovers.

"This is the furthest I have got," added Bishop.

"When you get drawn against a Premier League team you want to go to a big ground and play in front of a big crowd so we're looking forward to that at Craven Cottage."

Bishop scored his first goal for Notts in their 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth in League Two on Tuesday night – but still believes he can do more.

"I'm never totally satisfied with the way I play. There are always things I'm not happy about and looking to improve," he said.

"The staff won't let us sit back and rest on our laurels. They are always wanting more.

"I would love to score again against Fulham."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 11:50:30 AM »

Westcarr relishing second shot at Fulham in FA Cup

Friday, February 12, 2010, 07:00Comment on this story

CRAIG Westcarr does not think Roy Hodgson will remember him. But it is unlikely the Fulham manager would be so forgetful.
Westcarr scored twice for Kettering Town against Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup last season, as the non-leaguers almost caused one of the greatest upsets in the competition's history, before they lost 4-2 at Rockingham Road.
Twice Westcarr's goals levelled the tie. After Simon Davies put Fulham 1-0 ahead, the striker scored with a deflected free-kick. And when substitute Danny Murphy restored Fulham's lead in the second half, Westcarr struck from the penalty spot, after being pulled back by Brede Hangeland.
It was 2-2 with seven minutes left, when Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora each scored, ending Kettering's dreams of a replay at Craven Cottage.
Still, Westcarr has fond memories of that memorable, almost momentous, day last January, even if Hodgson does not. They are flooding back to him ahead of Notts County's trip to Fulham on Sunday, in the fifth round of the Cup.
 Westcarr is relishing a second shot at the Cottagers.
"I remember everything about it. There was a buzz before the game around the club and town, it was the biggest game in Kettering's history.
"I felt nervous before it, but I feel nervous before every game. When I got out there I was fine.
"It was a good game and we should have taken it to a replay at Craven Cottage.
"We had a few good chances. If we had scored them we would have caused an upset.
"It was 2-2 going into the last five or ten minutes, the atmosphere was electric. They scored a third and then Zamora got the fourth, and that was it, our dream was over.
"Their manager came into our dressing room after the game and told us we were one of the best teams they had played.
"He said a few good things about us in the papers afterwards too, which was nice to read. Hopefully he will be doing the same after Sunday.
"I scored twice but I don't think he will remember me. I played up front in that game anyway, so it will be different if I play on Sunday.
"It might be a good thing if he has forgotten me!"
Westcarr is adamant Hodgson will instead see Lee Hughes as the Magpies' danger man.
Hughes has scored in the last three rounds of the Cup, against Bournemouth and Forest Green and in the 2-2 draw against Wigan at Meadow Lane – in which he single-handedly gave Titus Bramble and Antonio Amaya a torrid time, with Notts going on to win the replay 2-0.
He notched his 22nd goal of the season in the Magpies' 1-0 win at Grimsby Town in League Two on Saturday.
Westcarr added: "They (Fulham) have got threats throughout their team – they will have, because they are a Premier League side.
"But so have we, especially with a match-winner like Lee Hughes. He has banged in goals all season for us.
"Grimsby was a perfect example of his ability, he got one chance and he took it. If he gets one against Fulham, he'll do the same. Having a goalscorer like him in the team is great. He's got 22 so far and he will get a lot more."
Westcarr admits Fulham, who are tenth in the Premier League and have only been defeated three times at Craven Cottage – against Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa, will be tougher opponents than Wigan.
He knows it will be a bigger occasion for the Magpies. Attendance was only 5,519 in their fourth-round replay at Wigan and is likely to be 25,000-plus at Craven Cottage.
"They will be a lot stronger than Wigan, but I still think we have got enough in our locker to give them a good game," he said.
"We can go there and cause an upset.
"I hope we take a good following, to make it a good atmosphere. It will feel like a bigger occasion than the replay at Wigan. We play in front of bigger crowds than that in our home league games.
"Playing in front of big crowds doesn't bother me, I've done it before, when I was at Forest.
"It's better when there is a full crowd, and there is no pressure on us either.
"We have nothing to lose, but we will go into it with the same attitude as we have every game this season, trying to play our football and win.
"We're in the last 16 and we've got to enjoy it. It's the first time Notts have been in the fifth round for almost 20 years.
"Even if we lose, we can look back on a good Cup run and we know we've got a good squad to push on in the league.
"But we'll see what happens. It's the FA Cup, so anything can happen."
And Westcarr almost proved that with Kettering last season.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 11:51:33 AM »

Fulham    v    Notts County

Live text and stats

Content will update automatically

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The FA Cup

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham v  Notts County 15:00

Fulham 50% Notts County 50% Attempts on target
Fulham 0 Notts County 0 Attempts off target
Fulham 0 Notts County 0 Corners
Fulham 0 Notts County 0 Fouls
Fulham 0 Notts County 0
FA Cup fifth round
Venue: Craven Cottage Date: Sunday, 14 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC local radio, Final Score

Team news to follow later.

The tie in context

• Notts County are the only League Two representatives in the fifth round, and the lowest ranked club still alive in the FA Cup.

• Fulham go into the weekend as one of nine Premier League clubs with their sights on a place in the quarter-finals.

• The Cottagers are one of five participating clubs in this fifth round, who have never won the FA Cup.

Gulf in class

• The Magpies are 65 places lower than Fulham on the league ladder ahead of this weekend's fixtures; the widest gulf in class in the fifth round.

• These clubs last met in 1998/99 when they both found themselves in the third level of league football together. Notts County prevailed 1-0 at Meadow Lane that season.

• Fulham have won their last three home games against the Magpies, and have not lost to them in seven in west London, since a 3-1 defeat in the old Second Division in October 1979.

FA Cup records and best performances

• The Cottagers have won both their previous FA Cup meetings, registering 1-0 away victories in the fifth round in 1926 and in the third round in 1956.

The clubs

Current form

• Won two and drawn one of their last three Premier League matches, with clean sheets in all three.

FA Cup form

• The 1975 runners-up are aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the second season running.

• Already knocked out lower league opposition in Swindon and Accrington, but not succumbed to a lower ranked club since Bristol Rovers eliminated them after a penalty shoot-out in the third round in January 2008.


Current form

• Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth was the first time County had failed to win in five, and brought an end to their seven-match unbeaten run (W6, D1) since Christmas.

• Conceded two goals in five league and cup outings.

FA Cup form

• This is their sixth match in this cup run.

• Scored twice in each of the last five, but kept one clean sheet in the fourth round replay victory over Premier League Wigan at the DW Stadium.

• The 1894 winners have not figured in the quarter-finals for 19 years.

Replay date
Sunday, 7 March 2010 (Kick off: 1500 GMT)

Match officials
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

Assistant referees: Shaun Procter-Green & Nigel Bannister

Fourth official: Andy Hall

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 11:53:24 AM »

England - FA Cup: Fulham vs Notts County

The best Fulham vs Notts County odds

Offer Bookie Odds
Home win  Boyle Sports 8/15
Draw  PinnacleSports 7/2
Away win  PinnacleSports 7/1

Fulham virtually ensured survival with a comprehensive win over Burnley and the Cottagers can now fully focus on their FA Cup tie against Notts County. The Magpies eliminated Wigan in the last round and they are now looking for another Premiership scalp. The visitors, nevertheless, face an uphill task at Craven Cottage as Fulham are extremely convincing at home.

The hot favourites

After the good first part of the season, Roy Hodgson’s side have suffered a big dip in form at the start of 2010 that saw them slip to the brink of the danger zone but the good news is they managed to arrest the poor run by picking up seven points from last three games and have thus virtually ensured survival. The Cottagers easily beat Burnley in midweek and they now have a great chance to make it to the FA Cup quarter-finals, while we expect Roy Hodgson’s team to record another comprehensive win at Craven Cottage. Hence, backing Fulham to win with -1 handicap at 2.40 offered by Paddy Power looks like the right thing to do.

Clint Dempsey, Andy Johnson, John Paintsil, Zoltan Gera, Paul Konchesky and Kagiso Dickagoi remain sidelined, while Roy Hodgson is likely to make some changes to the starting line-up. This basically means players like Smalling, Greening, Riise, Nevland, Kelly and Okaka shold play from the very start, but the Cottagers will, nevertheless, be too strong for Notts County even without several first team regulars.

Eriksson resigns

Sven Goran Eriksson has vacated his post as a director of football at Notts County after the club changed hands for the third time this season and this latest development is threatening to destabilize the team. The Magpies have produced quite a coup having eliminated Wigan from the FA Cup few weeks back but that was just a one off result and we doubt they can do something similar in this match. The team enter this match on the back of the defeat to Bournemouth and they are likely to struggle against the team that boast one of the best defensive records in the Premiership. Therefore, we see a good value in backing Notts County not to score at 1.91 offered by Paddy Power.

Caretaker boss Dave Kevan will have full squad to choose from for the trip to London, thus he is likely to field the same side that started the Bournemouth game in midweek. As always, enthusiastic striker Lee Hughes and excellent set-piece taker Ben Davies will be men to watch, although they face a tough task against Fulham’s rock-solid defence.

Betting verdict

There’s no way Fulham will make the same mistake of underestimating Notts like Wigan and we expect the Cottagers to win the game without too many problems even though Roy Hodgson is set to field a weakened side. Even Fulham’s second string should have an easy job against a fourth division side and home win looks like a banker here.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 11:55:20 AM »

Club Focus - Fulham - Home Sweet Home

By Matt Domm

It started with a blip against Aston Villa, but Fulham’s flurry of home games - three of the last four, with three in a row to come - has seen them get their season back on track after a disastrous January.

The last two home fixtures have brought six points but, more importantly, Tuesday’s visit of Burnley brought a massively improved performance from the attacking players. So the league campaign has been reignited, and now the Whites face an FA Cup tie followed by a huge Europa League clash to completely put early 2010’s away-day shambles behind them. Tuesday’s match probably said as much about Burnley’s abysmal record on the road as it did about Fulham’s strength at home. But the job still had to be done, and it was carried out almost perfectly.

Firstly, the recently watertight defence had to remain that way and secondly, the forwards had to start creating far more opportunities. Both happened, as the Clarets attack rarely troubled Mark Schwarzer, yet at the other end Brian Jensen more than earned his wages. In fact, on a different day for the Dane, Burnley could have shipped far more goals than the three that hit the back of their net - it made a nice change for Fulham fans to bemoan how well the opponents’ goalkeeper played, rather than be frustrated at him being underworked. Jensen made a string of top-class saves at various stages throughout the night - a strong arm on a Dickson Etuhu piledriver and a reaction stop to get down from a close-range Bobby Zamora effort the picks of the bunch. At the other end the big Australian was commanding in the air, and alert the few times he was called upon. It was the two big men up front who were busiest on the night instead.

Roy Hodgson, whenever possible, usually opts for the big man/little man striker combination. On Tuesday David Elm got his second consecutive Premier League start, but, this time, instead of being Zamora’s replacement as target man, he was played alongside the Whites’ top scorer in a somewhat untried big man/big man partnership. This could not have been more effective, as both men took turns holding the ball up, laying it off and working the channels. The end result was a goal and an assist for the Swede, and a goal and an (semi-) assist for the Englishman. It was an effective combination against a leaky defence, but there was an important change in the midfield which helped in the creating department.

In Tuesday’s Club Focus, this writer discussed playing a natural central midfielder instead of the versatile Chris Baird. Hodgson, on Tuesday, started Etuhu alongside Danny Murphy, with Baird dropping into the right of defence. The performance of Murphy was remarkable. He played further up the pitch than in most games recently, with Etuhu covering the pitch behind him and spraying simple passes to his teammates. Murphy’s mindset was to create and attack, everything else was left to the capable Etuhu, and their impressive partnership of last season returned. Etuhu’s power freed up space for his midfield partner, who even managed to get forward enough for the opening goal. The captain has recently blown hot and cold, but against Burnley he was on fire, and fully deserved to open the scoring. It appears as Hodgson begins to slowly get his preferred squad back, these small improvements in key areas will see Fulham begin to dominate at the Cottage once more, just as they did against Manchester United before the physio’s room turned into a Heathrow departure lounge. Things must be looking up if even Simon Davies managed to complete more than 45 minutes of football.

Hodgson will most likely keep most of Tuesday’s starting XI for the FA Cup tie with Notts County this Sunday, but even though the visitors are three divisions below Fulham, no-one should expect another comfortable 3-0 win. The most important thing about the tie will be for the Whites to carry on the improvement shown against Burnley - and for all players to escape unscathed. If the players can get three consecutive homes wins under their belts, then Shakhtar Donetsk will find themselves facing a real European battle. Despite the five-week-long form downturn since Christmas, a return to the homely (not for the visiting teams, of course) surroundings of their Cottage by the Thames has proven Fulham are nicely poised in every major competition they have entered this season.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 11:56:37 AM »
Weekend Travel Update

Friday 12th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Supporters planning on coming to this Sunday's match between Fulham and Notts County at Craven Cottage should note that ongoing works to Hammersmith Bridge and the Circle Line could affect travel times.

Hammersmith Bridge
Work on Hammersmith Bridge will continue until March 2010, the bridge will be closed to all traffic in both directions every weekend until March 15. However, the bridge will be open to cyclists and pedestrians at all times during these works.

Circle Line
There is no service on the entire line due to track replacement work this weekend. Your journey time could take up to 45 minutes extra. If you need any further information visit| , phone 0843 222 1234 (24 hours) or speak to station staff.

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Offline LBNo11

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (12.02.10)
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2010, 12:41:49 PM » the 'Firing Line' entry, I wonder where the Daily Mail get off on suggesting that Mr Hodgson could even be considered for 12th slot (up from 10th???).

He has the backing of Mr Fayed, the Board, and the fans. What utter piffle these hacks dream up...