Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)  (Read 6648 times)

White Noise

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Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« on: January 06, 2011, 10:06:24 PM »

Fulham leap to front of Sidwell queue

Published 23:59 06/01/11

By James Nursey - EXCLUSIVE

Fulham are set to pip relegation rivals West Ham to steal Steve Sidwell.

Sidwell, 28, leaves Aston Villa this month as the Midlands club seeks to cut their £70million wage bill.

He has already held talks with bottom club West Ham, where he had a medical, and has since discussed going to struggling Wolves on loan.

Sidwell was even in the crowd at Molineux on Wednesday as Wolves beat Chelsea 1-0.

But the star has decided against staying in the Midlands as his family home is in south-west London. And Fulham are now firm favourites to sign the goal-scoring midfielder on a knock-down deal.

MirrorSport revealed in June that Fulham agreed a £2million fee with Villa for Sidwell – but the move was aborted when boss Roy Hodgson left.

It has now been resurrected by successor Mark Hughes for a fraction of the cost because Sidwell’s £48,000-a-week contract is up in the summer.

Sidwell cost Villa £5m in July 2008, from Chelsea, but made only 24 league starts for the club.

Meanwhile, Villa signed Spurs right-back Kyle Walker, 20, on loan until the end of the season.

Under-pressure Villa boss Gerard Houllier said: “Kyle will be a valuable addition to our defence.”

Houllier has also spoken to Blackburn boss Steve Kean about bargaining for centre-back Chris Samba.

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« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 06:58:51 AM by White Noise »

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 10:07:45 PM »

Stick with Hughes and Fulham will soar

Posted on Thursday, 6th January 2011

by Saad Noor

Written by Saad Noor, at Craven Cottage

In this strange season there have been a few surprise packages, the customary strange result, and then there’s Fulham.

Last year’s Europa League finalists have looked a shadow of their former selves and have struggled to string wins together this term.

You could point to their gruelling 63-game-season which led to former manager Roy Hodgson being named manager of the year followed by a World Cup and argue a case for exhaustion. But, out of their 25-man Premier League squad, only six played in South Africa.

Mark Hughes was deemed a smart and safe appointment by Mohamed Al-Fayed when Roy Hodgson left for pastures new at Liverpool but his season so far has been difficult to say the least.

He has been under increased pressure since the Cottagers dropped into the relegation zone after defeat by West Ham on Boxing Day but six points in the last three games have moved them out of the bottom three and transformed the mood at the club.

It seems as though Hughes had a chip on his shoulder since his harsh and abrupt sacking as Manchester City manager last season and doesn’t appear to be enjoying his time at the Cottage as much as he had before.

Some Fulham fans have lost patience with the former Manchester United striker and suggest his head is elsewhere and believes he is too big for a club of Fulham’s size. Fans at Craven Cottage chanted: “Hughes out!” after their embarrassing defeat to bottom club West Ham.

This analysis is callous as although Hughes is of course an ambitious manager, he is also a proud man who has done a good job wherever he has been.

While at a somewhat similar club, Blackburn Rovers, between 2004 and 2008, in his first season he led the club to an FA Cup semi-final for the first time in over 40 years and steered the club clear of their relegation worries.

In his second season, Blackburn surprised even the most optimistic supporters by finishing inside the top six of the Premier League and qualifying for the UEFA Cup, beating eventual champions Chelsea, Arsenal and doing the double over Manchester United along the way. He also took Rovers to a Carling Cup semi-final too.

To go with these successes, Hughes was also very shrewd in the transfer market with a small budget signing the likes of Benni McCarthy (£2 million), David Bentley (£500,000), Ryan Nelsen (free), Stephen Warnock (£1.5 million), Roque Santa Cruz (£3.5 million), and Christopher Samba (£400,000) for minimal transfer fees and eventually led Blackburn to a league finish of 7th in 2007–08.

So Mohamed Al-Fayed would do well to back his manager in the transfer market as he is in desperate need of a striker with a forward line waring thin due to the injury plagued Andrew Johnson, Bobby Zamora’s long absence coupled with new boy Moussa Dembélé’s ankle problems.

With all these injuries midfielders Clint Dempsey has been the main goal threat which has restricted the side to just 22 goals in 21 league games.

So despite his rocky start to life in West London, the fans, owners and players at Fulham would be wise to be patient with old ‘Sparky’ and witness him take their side to similar heights as they enjoyed last season.

After the game against West Brom, Hughes said: “Things haven’t run for us but hopefully things are changing.”

Judging by his track-record, he might be right and a swing in fortunes along with a few additions in January (namely a striker) Fulham could still finish the season in a respectable position.

Now that Hughes has made it to January, it is thought he’ll make it to the end of the season. And if he makes it to the end of the season, he’ll be around for a lot longer than that.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 10:08:41 PM »

Gatesy’s Premier League Roundup

by gatesy on January 6, 2011

Well, hasn’t the world of football been busy since we last met here. As Tor has covered in her excellent away day report we did rather well up at Stoke. Though I’m not sure she stressed how awful the tea actually was. Now, I’m used to my correct views being ridiculed and people dismissing me as being nothing far short of a maniac. The fact that ‘Only Fools and Horse’ isn’t actually very good, the fact that any food can be improved by eating it in sandwich form and that Chris Baird is a marvellous player and is far too much under rated by everybody. One of these three brings me more abuse than the others. Though it may appear the tide is turning. Slotting in at left back since the Stoke game he’s looked more solid than recent previous incumbents and need I mention the brace he scored? It makes me wonder which position he’s set his mind on mastering next? We’re a bit shy up front and in goal at the moment, so…

One person who didn’t come out of the game too well was Pulis by refusing to shake Sparky’s hand after the match. Cast your mind back and you’ll see our Gaffer has previous with this as when he was at City Wenger did similar. It was all over the press at the time, along with this quote.

“Arsene Wenger has made a decision not to shake Mark Hughes’ hand, whether that is right or wrong you’d have to ask him. But personally, whether I like or dislike someone, you have a responsibility to show the right spirit of the game.…in the spirit of the game you should still shake hands…You should shake hands, you don’t have to go for a drink afterwards with them for a tittle-tattle.”
Do you want to guess who said that, or do you want me to tell you? Give you a clue, he’s fond of wearing baseball caps…

More recently WBA hit town and for a brief time the victory took us to 13th place, showing just how tight the table is at the moment. We haven’t given a team a convincing beating at home since we beat the Baggies 6-1 a few years back. Infact it was 184 games ago and oddly enough we’ve scored just over a goal a game since then (185 to be exact). Carsons flappy hands helped the boys into the lead just before the break with Brede and Dempsey completing the scoring.

If you’re a fan of goals from corners, The Cottage is the place to visit. With ten goals all scored from there it’s the hot-spot for them. The result means that West Brom are still pointless since Christmas.

Elsewhere towards the bottom of the table West Ham were put to the sword by Newcastle and their old boss Pardew. Leon Best scored a rare hat trick and a goal a piece from Nolan and Lovenkrands completing the rout. Best’s hat trick is the third one scored by a Magpie this season so far. The result takes the ‘Ammers back to the foot of the table and puts all that pressure back on Grant.

Another gaffer with the axe swinging ever closer is our old mate Roy. Giving a post match press conference lasting just two minutes and refusing to talk about the future probably isn’t a good sign. Then again, given Liverpool’s god given right to win everything all the time, neither was losing 3-1 at Ewood Park. The static reds defense was penetrated by Olsson and twice by Mwaruwai with the reply coming from Gerrard who was only included in the team at the last minute and probably wished he wasn’t after missing a penalty. His record currently standing at 6 of his last 20 being missed. A nice quote I saw after the game was that Liverpool are now “A joke without a laugh,” although I have managed a few titters at them myself…

The big game last night was City’s visit to Arsenal. As usual with these games it failed to live up to Skys big billing. Despite the home side hitting the woodwork twice the game ended nil nil. City rarely threatened and it showed, with this becoming their first game since December 2007 where they failed to have a shot on goal all game. Both teams managed to accumulate a red card each though with Zabaleta and Sagna being given marching orders after a little scuffle. The Arsenal players red was his second red card in just six Premier League Games. The draw helped Man Yoo consolidate at the top of the table after they beat Stoke on Tuesday night 2-1. Hernandez’s opener was leveled through Dean Whitehead, with Nani scoring to ensure the reds stayed top. The game also seemed to hint that SAF now see’s Smalling as his third choice centre back, being picked ahead of Johnny Evans (which always sounds like a pseudonym to me).

The biggest shock of Wednesday night was up in the Midlands with Wolves beating that lot down the road 1-0. An own goal from Bosingwa continued their awful recent run of results. It pains me to say it, but we could probably have done with the result going the other way round (may God strike me down). The only bright spot was earlier in the week when Ray Wilkins (Come back to us Ray, pleaseandthankyou) described Fat Frank as “A massive cog” leading to much sniggering at Castle Gatesy. Similar mirth was found in Mr Ancelotti’s pre match prediction,

“We are not thinking about losing at Wolves. We will not lose. We will win.”

How’d that work for you?

Another gaffer apparently on the verge of the sack, if you trust the press, is Villa’s Houllier. This is despite the board coming out in his defense and saying his job is safe. His case wasn’t helped much by their defeat against Sunderland at Villa Park. Even with the Black Cats receiving their 13th red card in 60 league games under Bruce, the Villains slipped into the relegation places. Bardsleys goal for the visitors see’s them sitting pretty up in sixth.

Meanwhile, Villa Director Charles Krulak came out with something worth considering:

“If we had another three points, we would be closer to sixth”
You can’t knock him, he’s totally right.

Elsewhere this week, Blackpool lost at home to Brum, Bolton and Wigan sharing the points and Everton taking all three against Spuds. The Toffees opener coming from Fulham old boy Saha. Five of his last six goals have been against teams from the capital the this was the first of the season for him.

Next up for the Whites is FA Cup action when Peterborough visit the Cottage on Saturday. Meanwhile we sit 14th in the table.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 10:10:59 PM »

He might have been useful

Filed under: General — rich @ 5:38 pm

 Lecce-Bari 0-1 Goal di Stefano Okaka 06/01/2011 -SkyCalcio HD-

Okaka scores on Bari debut…

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 10:13:04 PM »

Fulham v Peterborough Preview: Waiting Game May Be Over for Rafik Halliche

06/1/2011 10:00 AM GMT By Mike McGrath


Fulham manager Mark Hughes has pointed out that every manager finds himself under pressure at some tim and it was his turn in the spotlight during the Christmas fixtures.

Fans turned on Hughes after the defeat to West Ham on Boxing Day but three positive performances since mean the attention is elsewhere and the Welshman can enjoy FA Cup week and look to shape his squad for the second half of the season.

Victories over Stoke and West Brom came either side of a decent performance against Tottenham that ended in defeat at White Hart Lane, meaning Fulham are heading into their fixture against Peterborough full of confidence.

Under Roy Hodgson last year, Fulham showed they have a taste for knockout competitions after reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the Europa League.

Survival is still the main goal for Hughes but a cup run would provide a welcome distraction and should could even help their league form, as it sometimes does with teams.

They have been granted what they wished for in the third round - a home tie against lower-league opposition, with Peterborough trying to upset the odds.

Key Match-up: Rafik Halliche v Craig Mackail-Smith: Halliche is yet to play for Fulham since arriving from Benfica in the summer following a World Cup where he was part of an Algeria team that frustrated England. He was on the bench against West Brom in midweek and it could be the right fixture to ease him back. Mackail-Smith will be looking to provide Posh goals following the departure of Aaron Mclean to Championship team Hull.

Form Guide: Fulham are enjoying their best spell of the season and confidence is high after six points from three games and, more importantly, reward for how well they have been performing. Peterborough are chasing promotion and have not been beaten in five games.

Odds: Fulham 2/5, Peterborough 13/2, Draw 7/2.
Tweeter Facebook FourSquare iPhoneFULHAM:
Hughes is targeting victory despite his players having a tough schedule in the past two weeks.

"We want a run in the cup as well, that breeds confidence," said the former Wales manager.

Fulham forward Clint Dempsey believes the club should be positive heading into the second half of the season as players are returning from injury.

"Players are coming back fit and Bobby Zamora's doing well in training. Hopefully he's on target still," said Dempsey. "Moussa Dembele is training a bit and as soon as we get a full team we'll see what we're capable of doing."

"The atmosphere? It's just been fighting. We're in a situation and have to stick together and work hard and show our character on the pitch.

"I think we showed a willingness to move forward and win in the last three games. We have to keep that standard going and hopefully keep going."

Strategy: Fulham are more attacking under Hughes and that is likely to continue. They play either 4-4-2 or with Demsey behind a striker and it means fairly open games.

Injury Update: Moussa Dembele has been edging back to full fitness but it is a matter of whether Hughes wants to risk the striker. Andrew Johnson (hamstring) is set to miss out and Bobby Zamora is recovering from a broken leg.

The visitors have been boosted by Leeds allowing them to play on-loan midfielder Adam Clayton in the FA Cup.

Manager Gary Johnson has promised to "have a go" rather than look for a replay. He said: " I watched them play extremely well in beating West Brom on Tuesday night. There's no doubt I'd rather be facing West Brom this weekend.

"But there is no point in going there just to avoid getting beaten heavily. It would be wrong to go there too open, but it would be just as wrong not to have a go at them.

"I don't want us to come away from Fulham with any regrets. If we lose we want to be able to leave the pitch with our heads held high knowing that we at least had a go."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 10:16:05 PM »

Proud managers face the music while failing players again go silent

The decent reputations of Hodgson, Ancelotti, Houllier and Grant are being ridiculed for slumps that are only partly their fault

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Paul Hayward, Thursday 6 January 2011 13.54 GMT

Roy Hodgson finds himself under mounting pressure less than a year after reaching the Europa League final with Fulham. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
As a brutal set of results rolled in on Wednesday evening a night of the long knives beckoned. The Sun was about to speculate in its later editions that as many as four Premier League managers could be fired on the day of Epiphany. We are close to the moment when sackings become an official sport with their own television deal.

At Arsenal Manchester City's Roberto Mancini could reflect on a night of expert negation. But he, too, has seen his job "linked" with other elite coaches while never quite making it to "the brink" of dismissal. Lucky him.

For Roy Hodgson (Liverpool), Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea), Gérard Houllier (Aston Villa) and Avram Grant (West Ham) there was no refuge in a cosy 0-0 draw. Each had seen his team beaten and went to bed knowing he would be abused in the great new media talkosphere while employers potentially weighed-up "other options".

What rendered Wednesday so distinctive was that four managers with European final pedigrees came in for a whipping. In this more democratic campaign 10 of the 20 Premier league "bosses" have been sacked, tipped for dismissal or subjected to ridicule and rage. Chris Hughton, who conceived wins over Arsenal and Sunderland in Newcastle's first season back at the top, was the first to go, followed by Sam Allardyce, canned at Blackburn by owners who thought Ronaldinho might like a new mid-table life at Ewood Park.

Also grumbled about this winter have been David Moyes (Everton), Mark Hughes (Fulham) and Roberto Martínez at Wigan. Every time Martínez opens his mouth sense flows out. He thinks Wigan need to evolve beyond relegation toil, attract more fans with an entertaining style and stop being a recruiting sergeant for bigger clubs. His problem is that he has won only four of his 21 games and may find his coolness and intelligence stranded in the Championship.

With the four big-name victims from Sunderland's 1-0 win at Villa, Chelsea's defeat at Wolves, Liverpool's tumble at Blackburn and Newcastle's 5-0 pummelling of West Ham we reach the startling ratio of 40% of managers with sleep disturbance, though Mancini is probably now conking out for the full eight hours. And now the real question: how many players are assailed by night-time fear? How many dread the game's capacity to trash a lifetime's work on the back of a few bad results?

The manager is out there on his own and, though six-figure compensation can soften a fall, there is no recompense for being cast as an idiot after decades of careful toil. Sure, from the sacking culture will emerge a new breed of opportunist whose main concern before entering a dug-out will be his severance clause. But Hodgson, Houllier, Ancelotti and even Grant are slaves to a passion as well as politicians and realists. The first thing lost in the rush to humiliate and condemn is the human element: the man's life and work.

So much for their feelings. What about their records? First: Hodgson was a Europa League finalist in May with Fulham and was Manager of the Year for 2009-10. At Craven Cottage he conceived victories over the kind of clubs people are now saying he is unfit to manage. Whether he is equipped to reverse decline at Liverpool is a debate the club's fans are addressing with wince-inducing vigour. No one, though, can caricature him as an overnight chump. Modern fan- pressure has established a point of no return beyond which managers are dumped because everyone assumes they will be.

Ancelotti, meanwhile, won the Double in his first year at Stamford Bridge. While Hodgson writhes and resists, Chelsea's commander sports a more fatalistic look. Life as an employee of Silvio Berlusconi in Milan is the ideal preparation for exposure to proprietorial whim. Equally Roman Abramovich's meddling is the perfect shield for Chelsea's players, who have escaped the scrutiny inflicted on their leader. Further north we could ask Fernando Torres about this too, assuming we could find him.

The same Chelsea players who took the credit for Grant reaching a Champions League final (2008) now escape censure for a shocking run that could soon put Ancelotti on a flight back to Italy. At Villa Houllier picks up the tab for disinvestment. Never mind that he won two French league titles with Lyon after his treble at Liverpool in 2001 or that Villa are in financial retreat post-Martin O'Neill. The right response is enslavement to the rolling ticker of results, then panic.

All of which infantilises the players. For "I blame the parents" read "I blame the manager". Houllier, Hodgson, Ancelotti and Grant, who guided imploding Portsmouth to an FA Cup final, have all reached/won European finals in the last 10 years but their achievements are written in chalk on a board with a wet sponge nearby.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 10:18:14 PM »

Six line up for former 'next David Beckham'

Author:  Andrew Allen

Posted on:06 January 2011 - 14:42

Six Premier League clubs are thought to be in the race to sign Tottenham Hotspur star David Bentley. The Arsenal academy graduate has struggled to hold down a first place since moving to White Hart Lane from Blackburn Rovers in 2008 and looks set to leave the London club this January.

Wanted back at Ewood Park by new boss Steve Kean, the tricky right sided midfielder is also thought to have been contacted by West Ham United, Fulham, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Everton.

Tipped for a bright future at the top of the game during his time under Arsene Wenger, Bentley quit the Gunners citing a lack of first team football before stamping his mark on the Premier League during two successful seasons under Mark Hughes’ stewardship.

Rewarded with a call-up to the England national team and hailed as the long-term successor to David Beckham, the 26-year-old soon moved to Spurs during the ill-fated reign of Juande Ramos.

Despite the Lilywhites spending upwards of £15 million on the midfielder, Bentley was reduced to the substitutes bench by Harry Redknapp and despite a flurry of encouraging cameo performances last term has found first team action this season hard to come by.

After a hefty outlay Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is thought to want to recoup as much cash as possible and will look to negotiate a permanent deal with any potential suitors although wage demands could prove a stumbling block.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2011, 07:11:29 AM »

South Africa's Dikgacoi unhappy at Fulham role

Ed Aarons
BBC Sport, Johannesburg. 

Dikgacoi has not featured in Mark Hughes plans this season

The agent of South African Kagisho Dikgacoi says he is planning showdown talks with Fulham manager Mark Hughes.

The midfielder, 25, has seen just four minutes of action since Hughes' arrival at the club in the summer.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, his agent Mike Makaab, says the player has no option but to move on.

"We will engage Fulham over the next few days and talk to them about the future," he told BBC Sport.

"I've always been straight and honest with my clients so we will have to approach them and admit the situation - KG needs to play games," he said.

Dikgacoi's two-year contract expires in June, meaning he is now free to discuss terms with other clubs in Europe.

According to his agent, teams in France and Germany have already shown an interest.

"If it's not going to be at Fulham then it needs to be somewhere else."

"Ideally we can get something sorted in the January window but if that can't happen then at the end of the season," he stated.

Dikgacoi was part of South Africa's squad at the World Cup which the country hosted and provided the pass for team-mate Siphiwe Tshabalala's opening goal at the tournament.

He played 17 games under former coach Roy Hodgson last season.

Dikgacoi joined The Cottagers in August 2009 after impressing Hodgson at a trial.

He picked up a knee injury in pre-season and has failed to force his way back into the team even with Fulham struggling in the league.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2011, 07:22:49 AM »

Fulham pip Wolves to Steve Sidwell

Thursday 6th January 2011, 5:00PM GMT

Wolves have been left reeling after midfield target Steve Sidwell opted to join Fulham in the latest dramatic twist to his transfer.

The 28-year-old had twice agreed to move to Molineux either side of his protracted switch to West Ham falling through and attended Wolves’ 1-0 win over his former club Chelsea last night, with a view to joining permanently.

Indeed, sources said he had actually signed for Wolves.

But, with the club having agreed a deal with Villa as well as personal terms with the player, he had a change of heart when Fulham, near his family home in Surrey, came calling.

The Cottagers are understood to have offered a long-term deal rather than just to the end of the season.

West Ham couldn’t agree personal teams with as many as 15 deals expected in and out at Upton Park this month.

Geography appears to have ultimately won the day for Sidwell’s signature, with the Wandsworth-born former Arsenal trainee also turning down more money from an unnamed club further north than Wolves.

Wolves have also distanced themselves from the prospect of signing another Villa player after being linked with Carlos Cuellar.

Cuellar has apparently told his agent he wants to leave Villa Park and Wolves have had the Spaniard on their radar, but have now moved on to other targets.

McCarthy has also been blocked from signing Richard Dunne – at least for this month – because he’s back in Villa’s team.

And they cooled on his team-mate Curtis Davies because of concerns over the fee.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2011, 07:26:46 AM »

Sidwell's looking Ful of himself

Published: Today

STEVE SIDWELL will join Fulham after his move from Aston Villa to Wolves fell through at the last minute.

The 28-year-old midfielder had originally agreed a deal with West Ham but that also collapsed.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 07:28:48 AM »
Wolves want Millwall's Steve Morison to help then roar like a lion

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 10:16 PM on 6th January 2011

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is trying to land Millwall striker Steve Morison. The Welsh international has scored nine goals this season for Kenny Jackett's Lions.

And McCarthy is keen on using his physical presence to unsettle Premier League defenders. The 6ft 2in frontman is valued at £3m and has also interested Fulham and Nottingham Forest.

Wolves have confirmed the club are in talks to sign Steve Sidwell from Aston Villa.

 Roaring Lion: Steve Morison is wanted by Wolves

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2011, 08:03:58 AM »

Simon Davies makes Fulham FA Cup admission

HE WAS forced to sleep in the Peterborough dressing room as a 14-year-old – but tomorrow (Sat) Simon Davies is out to make sure his old side don’t catch Fulham dozing in the FA Cup.

For all that, the Whites midfielder admits he will take a humbling in the world’s most famous domestic trophy if it ensures Premiership survival.

Davies sadly came to the conclusion this week that coming down the Wembley stairs a winner will mean nothing if Fulham are relegated from the top flight.

But after his rocket in Tuesday's 3-0 win over West Brom, the 31-year-old is adamant his team has turned the corner – provided they don’t become a giant killed by the club it took a teenage Davies eight hours by train to reach.

He said: "We’re taking nothing for granted, but we’ve played well in the last three games and my goal helped us settle down against West Brom just when we needed it.

"But I wouldn’t want to go through the season before last again when we escaped on the final day.

"Every minute of ever day you were thinking about what might happen. And I’ve been to two cup finals and lost them both – so time is running out for me.

"And it would be immense to finally win a trophy, but sadly the prizes in the Premiership far outweigh the FA Cup."

Davies remembered back to a time when playing Premiership and international football was a childish fantasy after joining League One Posh and making solitary 16-hour round trips from home in Wales.

He said: "The youth staff at Peterborough would chuck a couple of air bags down in the dressing room for five or six of us. We’d get a bit of cereal on the Saturday morning and off we would go. I would normally get home on Sunday at midnight and be back at school the following day.

"But it was a good grounding. It made you appreciate the sacrifices needed to get where you wanted."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2011, 08:05:10 AM »

Peterborough's former Fulham defender fires warning to Diomansy Kamara and Clint Dempsey

GABRIEL Zakuani has warned former Fulham team-mates Diomansy Kamara and Clint Dempsey: "You're in for a good kicking."

The Peterborough defender returns to Craven Cottage for the first time since leaving the Whites for London Road two seasons ago when the clubs meet in the FA Cup third round tomorrow.

The 24-year-old plans to text old pals Kamara and Dempsey to tell them he will be taking no prisoners as Posh plot to cause an upset.

He said: "I'm good friends with Joe and still keep in touch with him now.

"I'm going to wind him up and tell him not to mess with me. He needs to watch out because I'm going to go through the back of him!

"Clint's tricky, but after the first tackle I'm going to whisper in his ear 'welcome to League One'."

Zakuani helped dump Fulham out of the famous old trophy with Leyton Orient in 2006, prompting a £1million move to SW6.

But he made just two appearances at the Cottage before being shipped out on loan to Stoke City and then Peterborough, where he made the switch permanent in 2009.

However, Zakuani insists he has no regrets about leaving the Whites.

"I was brought in by Chris Coleman, but then he left and I spent most of my time out on loan," he said.

"But I'm sure I made the right move. It's much better to feel part of something rather than just sitting there rotting in the reserves."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes plans to ring the changes for the visit of Gary Johnson's side, with fringe players Stephen Kelly and Jonathan Greening among those expected to get a run-out.

And Zakuani reckons it's a decision Sparky is going to live to regret.

He added: "I'm quite surprised to be honest. They've been struggling in the league and haven't really been scoring lots of goals.

"If they play a weakened side that will definitely benefit us.

"They underestimated us when I beat them with Orient exactly five years ago, and hopefully they come with the same attitude again.

"I really wouldn't be surprised if we caused an upset."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2011, 08:07:02 AM »

Arsene Wenger only wants one player for Arsenal this month

I don’t need goalkeepers, midfielders or strikers, says Gunners boss, but I might need a centre-back

ARSENE Wenger has admitted he will wait until the end of the transfer window to decide whether or not to bring in defensive reinforcements for the stricken Thomas Vermaelen.

The Gunners boss has asked his medical team for a final answer on whether or not Vermaelen will be fit to play a part in the second half of the season.

The Belgian defender has not played since August because of an Achilles problem, and Wenger admitted this week he is still in the dark over whether or not the 25-year-old will recover.

“I completely exclude any signings in midfield or the offensive department,” said Wenger on Tuesday.

“At the back it just depends on Vermaelen. I am waiting to know more about him and at the end of January I will have to make a decision.”

If the diagnosis is a negative one then Wenger will enter the transfer market, and may even consider taking a player on a six-month loan as emergency cover.

Aston Villa’s Gary Cahill has been a long-term target for the Gunners boss, but Bolton Wanderers have pinned a £20million price tag on the England defender’s head.

Fulham’s Brede Hangeland is another name Wenger knows well, but the Norway international is unlikely to be allowed to leave Craven Cottage.

Meanwhile another player who is on Arsenal’s radar, young Paris St Germain defender Mamadou Sakho, will not be making a January move, according to his agent.

“No, I don’t think he will leave PSG in January,” said Werner Baader, who represents the 20-year-old Frenchman

“It isn’t possible in the January transfer window, but a move in the summer is possible. We will wait and see.”

Other than his defensive concerns, Wenger reported a clean bill of health for his squad in the New Year and feels they are ready to launch an assault for the Premier League title.

“We are confident, we have great belief, we are highly motivated, very hungry to do well and overall physically we are in a good shape,” said Wenger.

“This is the first time we go into a New Year with a squad of this size available. We have no new injuries and lots of players coming back.

“Kieran Gibbs will be available for Saturday, Aaron Ramsey is back from loan, [Henri] Lansbury as well and Abou Diaby will only be a few weeks.

“[The title race] is not so clear this year, there are five teams in the fight. Some teams have a bit more belief than others but that can change very quickly. It promises a very interesting sprint.

“We are in a period of the season now where the team who can be consistent now will do it. You always have a team who finds momentum after Christmas, and that team will win the championship.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2011, 08:27:19 AM »

FA Cup Preview

Fulham midfielder Simon Davies fired Fulham on their way to victory on Tuesday night and the former Welsh international was clearly relieved to see his Team move back up the Barclays Premier League table after three impressive performances against Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

“On Tuesday night the pressure was on but we dug out a victory and it’s another step in the right direction,” Davies told

“The League is so tight but we knew that one win would lift us up to the league table. It’s difficult when you find yourself in the bottom three – you’ve got to be careful that confidence doesn’t drain away and it was a big game for us on Tuesday. It was our first home game since Boxing Day and we needed to get the win.”

Davies’ goal and two assists against West Brom quite rightly earned him the plaudits but the midfielder was keen to highlight the unity amongst the Team which has served Fulham well in recent weeks.

“It was a good goal to get on Tuesday and it set the ball rolling. I think we started well against West Brom and we always try and keep it tight and play good football. The goal came at a good time because it settled everyone down and got the crowd going.

“We’ve [the Team] been together a long time now and we stick together and we know we’ve got enough spirit in the camp to see us through. When you’re out there and things aren’t going well you need that unity and spirit.”

Fulham will be looking to make it three wins in four matches on Saturday when they take on Peterborough in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and Davies is clearly looking forward to facing his former Club at the Cottage.

“I’ve played against Peterborough before when I played for Everton and that was at London Road," Davies explained. “The fans gave me a good reception and I had good times there from the age of 14 onwards.

“I used to travel there every weekend from Wales to play and then obviously from the age of 16 I moved up and had a great time under Barry Fry. He gave me my chance in football and I’ll always be indebted to him and Peterborough for giving me my chance.

“It’ll be good game and I understand they’re bringing about 6,000 fans down so it will be a good game to play in and hopefully we can keep our momentum going.

“As a footballer you want to win things and this is our last chance of winning some silverware this season. Hopefully we can use our experience in cup competitions last season to go as far as we can. Of course Premier League football will always be our priority but hopefully we can compete on both fronts.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2011, 08:28:20 AM »,19528,11095_6639274,00.html?

Cottagers in for Sidwell
Cottagers the latest club to join race for Villa midfielder

Fulham have emerged as new contenders to sign Steve Sidwell, Sky Sports News understands.

West Ham and then Wolves made approaches to Aston Villa and were given permission to talk with the former Chelsea man.

The Hammers thought they had got Sidwellafter he passed a medical and agreed terms, only for the midfielder to return to Villa and open talks with Wolves.

Now Fulham are hoping to persuade Sidwell to come back to London with a switch to Craven Cottage.

The 28-year-old is now set to talk terms with Fulham, before deciding where his future lies in the coming days.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2011, 08:47:33 AM »


Fulham have been linked with 6ft 5in Brescia striker Andrea Caracciolo as Mark Hughes steps up his search for an imposing target man.

The west London club are keen on 6ft 8in Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore, but have been made aware that Liverpool are also keen on taking him from Cluj.

Caracciolo is reluctant to leave Brescia for anyone but his favourite team - AC Milan - but there seems little prospect of a dream move to the San Siro.

Italy's top sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport say Fulham are interested in a January move and it would be difficult for cash-strapped Brescia to resist a decent bid.

Juventus are considering him now that Manchester City have all but won the race to sign their top target Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg.

However, the Turin giants have other names higher on their wish list and Fulham could take advantage.

Brescia admit they don't want to sell Caracciolo, who is key to them fighting relegation from Serie A this season.

The 29-year-old struck 24 goals in 35 appearances last season to inspire promotion from Serie B and is their top scorer with five in 15 appearances in this campaign.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2011, 08:49:51 AM »

Lawro's prediction

Fulham v Peterborough
Peterborough have got a decent manager in Gary Johnson, who knows how to get clubs promoted, but they are probably playing Fulham at the wrong time. This tie has come three weeks too late because, having been in terrible form, Cottagers boss Mark Hughes' men are now looking more like the side we know they can be.

Fulham are still without Moussa Dembele and Bobby Zamora up front but Diomansy Kamara has come back now and they are starting to get among the goals.

Prediction: 2-0

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (07.01.11)
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2011, 08:56:20 AM »

Cole on Hughes
Filed under: General — rich 
Andrew Cole on Mark Hughes.  Interesting.

I didn’t know how my new team mates would take to me. I was absolutely buzzing playing with them, but they might have viewed me differently. Ryan Giggs was especially friendly with me socially and invited me out a lot, while Mark Hughes, the man who should have felt the most threatened, was ultra professional.

In one of my first games for United, a player caught me with a bad challenge. I could look after myself, but Hughes came over.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll sort that out.” Minutes later he took revenge the lad who had done it. I was impressed and came to realise that great teams have players who look after each other, but there was no respite. Later in the same game, Hughes looked at me and said: “Any chance?”

“Of what?” I replied, unsure what he meant.

“Of working harder?” I got the point. There was also talk of Hughes leaving because I had arrived. I did not want him to go, but wanted to learn from him.