Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...  (Read 6357 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2010, 01:31:49 PM »
http://blogs.soccernet.com/fulham/archives/2010/12/the_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly.php?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Yes folks, it's that time of year when editors get frivolous and allow the hacks to spin out their highs and lows of 2010. We're no different.

From 2010 I guarantee nobody in the Fulham camp predicted the rise and fall in club fortunes over the past year. Last Christmas saw us basking in a 3-0 demolition of Manchester United with enough points on the board at the mid-point in the season to laugh off any suggestions of relegation. Bobby was building his reputation week on week to the point where England recognition became compelling, and while Roy maintained an ultra-conservative approach to away matches, we were a very tough nut to crack at home.

Into January we picked up injuries to Clint and BZ that saw us putting out a makeshift side for a while and at the Lane by the end of Jan we were poor on a freezing night. Spurs this New Year's Day will be tougher still - the big difference this time around, Fulham now sit in the bottom three. And who would have predicted that at year's end after the euphoria of the Europa League run? Had we lost at Stoke we would now be rock bottom!

But there's no sentiment in football. It's a school of hard knocks where rewards are great but the spectre of failure is often only the width of a crossbar away. Has Hughes just been an unlucky manager with his last two teams or is he really not up to the mark? Despite that outrageous win at Stoke we soon find ourselves back in the relegation places - indeed of the two holiday fixtures to date the West Ham debacle was far more significant, indicative of a team that has lost its way. We remain a toothless tiger up front, with no evidence Hughes can reverse the downward spiral for a few more weeks yet.

Inspired signings quickly are crucial. And they need to make an immediate impact, which mitigates against the introduction of players new to the Premier League. All in all, the pressures on Mark to keep his job beyond 3rd round FA Cup day remain immense.

So what would be your highs and lows from the past 12 months? Without stating the obvious, give us a different slant on the Europa League campaign. I can't imagine it was easy following the nights of high drama at the Cottage against Shakhtar, Juve and the Germans during normal U.S. office hours for a start!

One final thought before the club start throwing money around in a panic. If there aint much quality out there, let's get creative with loan signings. Jamie O'Hara for starters (if fit) or Matt Taylor. If we've £2 million to spare lure Charlie Adam down from Blackpool to run midfield, I'm sure he can be tempted away from Holloway's rigid wage structure.

And talking of Blackpool - the board please take note. In the last year of published figures the Tangerines laid out £45,000 in agents fees, Fulham £2.2 million (and they call us a 'little club').
Tell the sharks to get lost...it can be done.

COYW - a point v Spurs at least please!

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2010, 01:34:00 PM »
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11679_6623438,00.html?

Titanic tussle

Harry Redknapp's insistence that Tottenham can challenge for the title may not have convinced everyone yet but his side have enjoyed a fine festive period so far, beating Aston Villa and Newcastle despite having a man sent off in both games to stay in touch with the leading pack. Next up for Spurs is a London derby at home to Fulham, who won only their third league game of the season at Stoke on Tuesday but remain in the bottom three.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2010, 01:35:24 PM »
http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/December/SpursPreview.aspx?

New Year's Derby

Following Tuesday night's impressive 2-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, Fulham travel across the Capital on Saturday afternoon to challenge Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane (KO 3pm).

Manager Mark Hughes is relishing the challenge of tackling high-flying Spurs, a team he regards as one of the most impressive attacking outfits in the Premier League.

"Tottenham in full flow are as dynamic as any team in the Premier League at this moment in time," Hughes told fulhamfc.com. “Harry [Redknapp] has always advocated attacking football, committing players forward and most people enjoy watching his teams play.

"I like Harry and I like his company. He’s a football man and he enjoys his work and he’s created a fantastic team at Tottenham. He’s getting the rewards for a long time in management and he’s now got a team that has a real chance to win things."

Redknapp has a vast array of world class attacking players at his disposal this term, including the irrepressible Gareth Bale, and Hughes is well aware of the danger the winger and his teammates will pose on Saturday.

"He’s [Bale] come on leaps and bounds," said Hughes. "Everyone was aware of the talent he had as a young kid and now he’s filled out and playing with experience. Every step of his progression is accomplished and he keeps moving up to the next level. I’m sure his Club is delighted with the progress he has made in such a short space of time and if he continues in the same vein there’s no saying what level he could reach.

"We’ve got to make sure we do certain things correctly on Saturday. He’s [Bale] the type of player that if you allow him time and space then he’ll hurt you. You’ve got to try and stop that happening and we’ve got keep his influence to a minimum if we can. The problem with that is if you focus too much on one player Tottenham have a number of players in other areas that can exploit any lack of focus in their areas.

"You can’t keep everyone quiet for the entire 90 minutes so what you have to make sure is that the momentum of the game isn’t relentless and you can break things up and ask questions of them as well. It can be quite open and there can be opportunities to exploit in a wide, open game against Tottenham. What you have to make sure is that you nullify the attacking threat that they pose."

Hughes will be looking for his Team to continue where they left off at the Britannia Stadium when Saturday's 3pm kick-off gets underway and Fulham's Manager is confident his side will soon be climbing the Barclays Premier League table.

"Usually you get teams tailing off, or teams running away with the Premier League title, but that hasn’t happened this year," Hughes explained.”It’s going to be a really interesting finish to the season and there will be a lot of twists and turns as to where each team will finish in the League.

"From our point of view we’ve got to make sure we continue to be really competitive and if we do that we’ll pick up points and move up the table. We feel very confident in that respect."



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/December/SpursPreview.aspx?#ixzz19hDs5oNL


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2010, 01:38:11 PM »
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1343041/TOTTENHAM-v-Fulham-William-Gallas-suspended-Younes-Kaboul.html?

TOTTENHAM v Fulham: William Gallas to fill in for suspended Younes Kaboul

William Gallas is set to make a timely return to the Tottenham side for the Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The defender, who had been skippering the side, has missed the last three and a half weeks with a hamstring strain and should replace Younes Kaboul, who starts a three-match ban.

Jermain Defoe is also suspended, Robbie Keane (hamstring) is doubtful, Carlo Cudicini is out with a shoulder problem, while Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Ledley King (groin), Jamie O'Hara (back) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) remain sidelined.

Provisional squad: Gomes, Pletikosa, Hutton, Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Sandro, Palacios, Jenas, Bale, Lennon, Bentley, Modric, Dos Santos, Van der Vaart, Crouch, Pavlyuchenko, Keane.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1343041/TOTTENHAM-v-Fulham-William-Gallas-suspended-Younes-Kaboul.html#ixzz19hERPhQP

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2010, 02:55:51 PM »
http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/matchprere.asp?a=226354

Spurs v Fulham Preview!
Having finally laid that Premier League away-day hoodoo to rest, with a great 2-0 win at Stoke the last time out; Fulham are faced with an awkward away trip, on New Years Day, to face high-flying Tottenham Hotspur. Can Mark Hughes men make it two away victories on the trot?

Vital Quotes:
Looking back on the recent away victory at Stoke, Mark Hughes had a few recollections that he hopes will serve his team in good stead for the forthcoming trip to Spurs, when he remarked to the media,

"I was really pleased with what the players produced."

"I think everybody saw that it was a fully committed team and a group of players who were desperate to win."

"They showed everything we`ve been trying to instill in the team from the outset. We weren`t to be denied."

"It takes time but it was really pleasing, the manner of the performance, and the determination of the players to get the job done."

"I feel really close to the players now and I feel we have a lot more to come."

More of the same again then please lads!

Spurs Team News:
Harry Redknapp enters this fixture without the suspended Kaboul after the defender received a straight red card in his last outing. On the injured list are Carlo Cudicini, Tom Huddlestone, Ledley King and Jamie O`Hara whilst Robbie Keane is rated as doubtful.

Also suspended is Jermain Defoe who is serving a two game ban for a recent red card offence.

Player to watch: Gareth Bale
Currently the tabloid press hero of the decade. Blessed with outstanding pace and a decent finish, Bale has worked out that if he kicks the ball past an opponent his sheer pace allows him to get free. Simple but effective!

Fulham Team News:
Mark Hughes squad will have been buoyed by the away win at Stoke; however, we`re, thanks to other results, still loitering in the bottom three as we enter a new year. Back in August I doubt that this scenario would have been in the script but we have to accept it is a situation we can get ourselves out of, even if the squad is suffering from injuries that seriously affect our cutting edge.

Definitely out are Bobby Zamora and Philippe Senderos whilst doubts exist about whether Moussa Dembele will have shaken off his recent knock. Unless he has, and unless we`ve picke dup the odd minor knock or two at the Britannia Stadium, we suggest that Mark Hughes will go with the same eleven that did us so proud in winning 2-0!

Player to watch: Danny Murphy
Our former Spurs player will be desperate to put on a good show at his old stomping ground. It`d be great if he could score!

Match Facts & Stats
Fulham go to White Hart Lane with a poor record. We`ve only won once there since 1948 and that came in August 2003 when we won 3-0.

The record since 1948 reads Spurs 18 wins, Fulham 1 win and 7 draws.

Since that win in 2003 we`ve lost every game at White Hart Lane and scored only once!

Match Prediction:
Winning at Stoke, the last time out, after 500 days without an away win in the Premier League, was a great feeling, but can we make it two away wins on the tort at White Hart Lane? My heart tells me yes, but don`t we always have that supreme vein of optimism pumping blood around after such a win? Sadly my head tells me no! But if I were to be optimistic I`d suggest we might get a draw this time out!

Next Fixtures:
With the games coming thick and fast at this time of the year, we welcome West Bromwich Albion to Craven Cottage on for our first home game of the New Year, on 5th January.



Vital Broadcasting talks to Clive Tyldesley!


Read more: http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/matchprere.asp?a=226354#ixzz19hXuBRP6

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #45 on: December 31, 2010, 02:56:43 PM »
http://sport.virginmedia.com/football/article/2010/12/31/gallas_back_for_fulham_clash?

Gallas back for Fulham clash
William Gallas is set to make a timely return to the Tottenham side for the Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The defender, who had been skippering the side, has missed the last three and a half weeks with a hamstring strain and should replace Younes Kaboul, who starts a three-match ban.

Jermain Defoe is also suspended, Robbie Keane (hamstring) is doubtful and Carlo Cudicini is out with a shoulder problem while Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Ledley King (groin), Jamie O'Hara (back) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) remain sidelined.


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2010, 03:00:31 PM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/9326764.stm

BBC: Tottenham v Fulham

Barclays Premier League
Venue: White Hart Lane Date: Saturday, 1 January Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: Watch highlights on Match of the Day; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC London; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

TEAM NEWS
Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul begins a three-match suspension as a result of his red card for clashing heads with Newcastle's Cheik Tiote.

William Gallas makes a timely return from a hamstring strain, but Robbie Keane is a doubt with a similar injury.

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will play his last game before flying out to the Asian Cup to represent Australia.

Forward Mousa Dembele is nearing a return after a seven-week absence with an ankle injury.

Tottenham
Suspended: Defoe (two matches), Kaboul (three matches)
Doubtful: Keane (hamstring)
Injured: Cudicini (shoulder), Huddlestone (ankle), King (groin), O'Hara (back)

Fulham
Doubtful: Dembele (ankle)
Injured: Briggs & Senderos (both calf), Stoor (groin), Zamora (leg)

MATCH PREVIEW
Having won with 10 men for the second successive match following Younes Kaboul's red card for butting a Newcastle opponent, Tottenham now have a head-to-head in their favour.

They have only lost once in 63 years at home to Fulham and ended the west London side's unbeaten start in the league in October.

Tottenham's recent form has fuelled talk of a title challenge, and anything must feel possible at White Hart Lane these days. Conversely, Fulham begin the year in the bottom three and there were question marks over the future of manager Mark Hughes following the home defeat by West Ham on Boxing Day.

Fulham's subsequent victory at Stoke - their first away win since the opening day of last season - was as deserved as it was unexpected, with Chris Baird scoring his first goals since March 2007. Hughes described the performance as immense; for once, Fulham looked good in khaki.

They displayed a resilience in that game that has been a trademark of Tottenham's performances over the festive period. With their mix of perspiration and inspiration, it is little wonder that Spurs' title odds have shrunk to 20-1.

MATCH FACTS
Head-to-head
• Tottenham's only home defeat by Fulham in 26 league and cup meetings since 1948 was a 3-0 Premier League reverse in August 2003 (W18, D7, L1).
• Fulham are winless in six subsequent league visits to White Hart Lane, scoring only once in that sequence.
• Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has won his last four league matches against Fulham counterpart Mark Hughes. In total, they have six wins each from 13 Premier League meetings.

Tottenham
• Spurs have won their last three New Year's Day fixtures at White Hart Lane since losing 2-1 to Coventry in 1994.
• They are unbeaten in their last eight league matches (W5, D3). If they avoid defeat on Saturday it will be their longest streak without defeat since a nine-match run ended in March 1999.
• Tottenham are the first top-flight club since Southampton in 1998 to have won two successive league games despite having a player sent off in both.
• Harry Redknapp's side have gained 16 points from losing positions this season - by far the best record in the division.

Fulham
• Fulham won their first Premier League away game in 27 attempts at Stoke on 28 December.
• They are vying for back-to-back league wins for the first time in 11 months.
• The Cottagers have failed to win any of their last 33 away matches in London since beating Tottenham in August 2003.
• Mark Hughes's side have dropped 13 points from winning positions, more than any other club in the division.
• Fulham's Simon Davies, Stephen Kelly and Danny Murphy are all former Tottenham players.

LEADING GOALSCORERS

Tottenham
Van der Vaart: 10 goals (8 league); Bale: 10 goals (6 league)

Fulham
Dempsey: 6 goals (5 league)

MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Michael Jones
Assistant referees: Will Smallwood & Glenn Turner
Fourth official: Mike Russell

LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Tottenham (W2-0 v Newcastle, h): Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios (Jenas 46), Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko (Bassong 66), Van der Vaart (Crouch 72). Subs not used: Pletikosa, Keane, Kranjcar, Corluka.

Fulham (W2-0 v Stoke, a): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Dempsey, A Johnson. Subs not used: Stockdale, Salcido, Gera, Kamara, Dikgacoi, Greening, Halliche.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #47 on: December 31, 2010, 03:03:17 PM »
http://www.footballtransfertavern.com/2010/12/premiership/forget-lawro-heres-the-premiership-predictions

FORGET LAWRO – HERE’S THE PREMIERSHIP PREDICTIONS
Tottenham v Fulham


The last two end of year games between these two have been dull affairs. This year Spurs will strut out knowing that they are unbeaten at home and Fulham have only won twice this term. Spurs fans will be looking for an avalanche of goals. Fulham fans would be delighted with a draw.

Prediction 2-0

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #48 on: December 31, 2010, 03:24:31 PM »
http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/premier-league/4154/5/hughes-hints-riise-exit-fulham

Hughes hints at Riise exit from Fulham



Mark Hughes has refused to offer Fulham outcast Bjorn Helge Riise any first-team assurances, hinting at an impending exit for the midfielder.

The Norwegian international has made just two appearances for Fulham this season, both coming from the substitute's bench and Hughes puts the versatility of his other players down to the midfielder’s lack of action

"Bjorn has been really unfortunate that we have a number of players that can play in a number of different positions," Hughes said.

"Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera can both play in wide positions and upfront so, unfortunately, Bjorn has been a victim of our rotation and the flexibility I have in some players.

"They also have more game time under their belts and that is why I lean more to those players more than Bjorn."

The younger brother of former Liverpool defender John Arne, Riise made 12 league appearances under Roy Hodgson last season and has openly stated that he will not wait around for much longer

"It is frustrating for him and I have had a number of chats with him, he is a great professional and conducts himself in an exemplary manner," Hughes said.

"I understand his frustration, I would like to think their will be more opportunities for him in the second half of the season, as I have told him, but I can’t guarantee it."


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #49 on: December 31, 2010, 04:13:18 PM »
http://www.fanhouse.co.uk/2010/12/31/tottenham-v-fulham-preview-difficult-to-improve-squad-says-h/?

Tottenham v Fulham Preview: 'Difficult' to Improve Squad, Says Harry Redknapp

Tottenham have every right to feel supremely confident going into this match. The Christmas period has so far seen them rewarded with six points from two games - despite suffering red cards in both those matches against Newcastle and Aston Villa.

Those two victories have moved them up to fifth in the table and they show no signs of the type of wobble that has hit rivals Manchester United and Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Fulham go into this match in an unfamiliar position, having finally won a Premier League game away from home.

Victory at Stoke got an unwelcome monkey off Mark Hughes's back and he has prepared his players in the same way this time looking for a repeat performance.

Key Match-up: Gareth Bale v John Pantsil There is no question that Bale has been the most impressive and consistent performer in the Premier League in 2010. His development from left back to left midfielder has seen him flourish and added goals to his game. His pace is his main asset but he can also cross the ball and Fulham will need to be wary. Trying to stop Bale will be Pantsil. The defender has won back his place in Hughes's side after initially failing to impress his new manager. This will be his toughest test since his return to the side and all eyes will be on how he copes.

Form Guide: Spurs are undefeated in their last ten games and are in an excellent run of form. Goals have not been a problem for Harry Redknapp's side with Aaron Lennon, Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Roman Pavlyuchenko on target in recent weeks. Fulham's win at Stoke was their first in 16 games and goals have been a problem. The Cottagers lost the reverse of this fixture 2-1 in October. Tom Huddlestone's controversial strike was the winner.

Odds: Tottenham 2/5, Fulham 15/2, Draw 7/2

TOTTENHAM HOTSTPUR:
Redknapp believes his team is one of five competing for four Champions League places – and believes Spurs' recent form suggests they will end the season celebrating rather than wondering about what-ifs.

They are on a ten-game unbeaten run in all competitions ahead of the Fulham clash and managed to win their last two Premier League fixtures with a man short.

Redknapp concedes keeping up that sort of form will be tough, but he said: "It looks to me that there are now five teams pushing for the Champions League places and we are right in among that.

"It is where we want to be – we want to be up there and challenging to get in the Champions League and even higher if we can.

"I don't think the pressure is any problem to us. Winning a championship is very, very difficult, but we are there and it is the most open Premier League for years – the results over the last few days show that."

Redknapp added he is on the lookout for additions to his squad in the January window, but would not be spending money just for the sake of it.

He said: "If the right player was there, if there was someone who can make a difference to the team then we would be interested.

"But it is very difficult to find that sort of player. Anybody who has anybody who is top class doesn't want to sell him. It is very difficult to improve your squad and we are not in a position where we need to panic buy."

Strategy: Redknapp will adopt the same formation that saw them through Wednesday's game against Newcastle, after the relatively diminutive midfield of Luka Modric and Wilson Palacios dealt with the physical approach Alan Pardew's side excellently. They are likely to be up against more of the same in Dickson Etuhu and Danny Murphy.

Injury update: Robbie Keane is doubtful for a place on the bench with a hamstring strain, while Younes Kaboul starts his three-match ban for his sending off against Newcastle. Jermain Defoe is two games into a three-game ban.

FULHAM:
Hughes says he is relatively happy with the progress he has made - but insists the second half of the campaign will be stronger.

He told a media conference: "I think for the best part of it we have done fine. In some cases we have underperformed in terms of not converting draws into wins.

"That has left us frustrated and that's what has held us back but we feel that with the rub of the green we could have added more games to our win tally.

"A point a game is not quite what we wanted but we have 19 more games to go and I'm confident that we will surpass the total we have from the first 19 in the second-half of the season. From that point of view we know what we have to do and we are confident about the challenge ahead."

Hughes is clear where he needs his players to improve - with their goalscoring - and is looking forward to having key men back.

He added: "That's where our problems lie. Defensively we are decent. We have conceded something like 23 goals and there are not that many teams in the Premier League that have conceded less, so we are good defensively but we are hampered by the fact that we haven't scored enough goals.

"That's what has held us back. We want to welcome back Bobby Zamora and Mousa Dembele as soon as we can. Bobby is stepping up his training. We hope to involve him only in warm ups to get him involved in the group sometime next week."

Strategy: It is difficult to see why Hughes would want to change a winning formula. He certainly did not want to make any changes during the match at Stoke. He is likely to opt for a 4-4-2 system with goal-shy Andy Johnson and Clint Dempsey leading his attack. Murphy and Etuhu will hold the midfield with Damien Duff and Simon Davies on the flanks.

Injury Update: Zamora (broken leg) and Philippe Senderos (Achilles) are both long-term injuries.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2010, 04:14:25 PM »
http://www.teamtalk.com/fulham/6627058/Hughes-challenge-for-Stockdale?

Hughes challenge for Stockdale

Fulham manager Mark Hughes has challenged David Stockdale to put himself back in the England frame during Mark Schwarzer's upcoming absence.

Schwarzer will play his last game for the Cottagers against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday before departing for Qatar, where he will represent Australia in the Asian Cup.

The 38-year-old, who recently committed his future to the club despite interest from Arsenal, could be missing until the start of February if, as expected, the Socceroos reach the final stages of the tournament.

That leaves Stockdale with another chance to impress after he filled in admirably for the Australian while he was injured at the start of the season.

Stockdale was pencilled in for a surprise call-up for England's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland in September after four excellent performances which included a man-of-the-match debut against Bolton and a penalty save in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

An ankle injury denied him that chance but Hughes believes the former Darlington stopper can put himself back in the international reckoning with some more good performances, starting with Tuesday's game against West Brom.

"Obviously it's a big loss losing Mark but David did really well when he came in at the beginning of the season and there's no reason he can't do exactly the same again," said Hughes, who will rely on 20-year-old Neil Etheridge as back-up for Stockdale in January.

"He did really well and obviously got near to an England squad.

"If it weren't for the injury he probably would have been in it.

"He made a real impression. Obviously with Mark's presence absent we have to hope that he makes a similar impression.

"There's no reason why he can't because he's been training well.

"We were aware this period was coming up and he's ready for it."

Fulham go into the game at Spurs having ended their eight-match winless run with a 2-0 triumph at Stoke that also ended the club's 16-month wait for an away victory.

Hughes admits his side, who are 18th in the table, must go on a run in order to quickly move away from the relegation zone.

Crucial to their chances of success at Spurs will be how they handle the threat of Gareth Bale, the Wales winger who Hughes thinks can go on to become one of the best players in the world.

"I think he has come on leaps and bounds," said Hughes of the 21-year-old.

"Everyone was aware of the talent he had as a kid.

"Every step of his progression is accomplished and it doesn't faze him.

"He keeps on going up to the next level. The impact he has had has been fantastic and I'm sure that the club will be delighted with the progress that he has made in such a short space of time.

"If he keeps going then there is no saying what level he could reach."

Bale forms a key part of a ruthless dynamic attacking formation employed by Spurs manager Harry Redknapp which has already seen off the likes of Arsenal, Inter Milan and Werder Bremen this year.

Hughes is full of admiration for his London rivals, who are fifth in the table, and expects them to challenge for the title this year.

"Spurs in full flow are as dynamic as any team now," the Welshman said.

"They will take some stopping and they have the chance to push on this year and if they really have the belief, and I'm sure they have, then they could go very close this year."

The former Blackburn boss hopes Spurs' eagerness to attack will leave his side with plenty of chances to hit them on the break.

Hughes continued: "From an opposition manager's point of view games against Harry's teams can be quite open and they leave opportunities to exploit."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #51 on: December 31, 2010, 04:16:48 PM »
http://www.fulhamchronicle.co.uk/london-sport/fulham-fc/2010/12/31/fulham-v-west-brom-tickets-up-for-grabs-82029-27915015/?

Fulham v West Brom tickets up for grabs!

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Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #52 on: December 31, 2010, 04:17:58 PM »
http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/harry-expects-fulham-test-311210.html?

Harry expects Fulham test

Harry Redknapp is expecting to meet a rejuvenated Fulham side at the Lane on New Year's Day.

The manager feels Mark Hughes' side will take a huge shot of confidence from their 2-0 win at Stoke on Tuesday.

The victory at one of the toughest away grounds in the Premier League represented an end to a sequence of eight matches without a win for the Cottagers.

However, they arrive in N17 with us on an unbeaten run of 10 matches in all competitions.

"The players have been fantastic and we're on a great run," said Harry.

"It looks to me now that there are five teams - no disrespect to the other teams - who will be pushing for the Champions League places and we're right in amongst that.

"It's where we want to be, up there challenging to get back into the Champions League next season.

"Fulham had a great result earlier in the week and it will be a tough game for us.

"They went to Stoke and produced a great win. That looked more like their regular team, the team that looked so strong last season with the likes of Andy Johnson back.

"Mark Hughes has done well wherever he's been. He did well at Blackburn, Manchester City and he will do well at Fulham, for sure.

"But we're doing well and we want to keep that going.

"If we manage to beat Fulham it will be a great week for us (two wins out of two so far in t he festive period) and that keeps us right up there."

A reminder that we kick-off at 3pm.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (31/12/10)...
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2010, 04:19:57 PM »
http://www.sportingpreview.com/columns/1011019910.php?

THE ANDY GRAY COLUMN
SATURDAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE 3.00pm KICK-OFFS

There were big changes at both ends of the table after the last two rounds of matches over the festive period.

And given that the grind continues for another few days, I get the feeling the next couple of games will be as much a test of stamina and strength of the different squads as it will be of pure footballing ability. Here's hoping this column doesn't run out of steam after a few mince pies and a couple of glasses of wine over Christmas...

Andy's predictions for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs...

Tottenham v Fulham
Spurs are on a roll whilst Fulham are consistently inconsistent; I can't see the home side dropping points in this match having played so well in recent weeks.
Recommended Bets: Back Tottenham to win at 1.48; 2-0 at 7.8