After three long, barren weeks without a Premier League fixture, we welcome the visit of Bolton Wanderers this weekend. Three weeks (twenty-one days) has seen like an eternity, since Arsenal were sent packing with their tails between their legs are a Fulham victory. Bolton will, we`re sure though, be a different calibre of opposition. For what they lack in silky skills they will more than make up for in brawn. It threatens to be a bruising encounter.
Ahead of the clash, our club skipper has given a lengthy interview to the official site, an interview that emphasises just how hard playing Bolton is.
Amongst many superb quotes, Hughes has remarked,
“These games are always tricky, Bolton are a difficult side to play against,”
“They`re a physical side and they make it hard for us to get our football going. But if we stick to what we`ve been doing over the past few weeks, we can get a good result.”
let`s hope that is the case Aaron, three points would set us up nicely for the forthcoming games.
Fulham Team News:
The big news ahead of the clash is that Craven Cottage could, at last, witness the debut of our big money signing, Andy Johnson. The rumour mill suggests that Johnson has fully recovered from the injury that has kept him on the sidelines. He`s likely to partner Bobby Zamora up front.
Elsewhere, Jimmy Bullard will be itching to get some action after being totally ignored by Fabio Capello whilst on England duty. Hopefully, the others on international duty including Schwarzer, Stoor, Hangeland, Hughes and Nevland will have returned without any niggling knocks that could keep them out.
If that is the case, we expect Roy Hodgson to go with the following eleven – Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Koncheskey, Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera, Zamora and Johnson.
We expect our last signing of the transfer window, Julian Gray, to be on the bench.
Player to watch: Andy Johnson
After paying Everton such a large sum of money we could hardly select anyone else. The Craven Cottage faithful have been waiting for this moment to see if Johnson can recapture the scoring form that propelled him into the international squad. Besides, a goal on his debut would be wonderfully received.
Bolton Team News:
As we already published this week, Gary Megson will arrive at Craven Cottage with some injury worries, Johan Elmander and Matty Taylor will both be absent. However, Patrice Muamba is likely to be available but the influential keeper, Jaaskelainen is out for the season according to reports received.
More Bolton news to follow later.
Player to watch: Kevin Davies
If you had to describe Davies the word robust springs to mind. You can guarantee one thing, he`ll not be scared of a physical confrontation and he`ll be a handful for our defence to take care of.
Match Facts & Stats
In encounters between the two sides, at our patch, Fulham hold the upper hand. If we take a look at the Premier League statistics we find that Bolton have yet to beat us on their travels with the record standing as: –
Fulham – 6 wins, Bolton 0 wins, Draws 1
In all matches at our place, their record is slightly better but we still come out on top: –
Fulham – 16 wins, Bolton 9 wins, Draws 9
Last season, in the corresponding fixture we triumphed 2-1 with the goals coming from two players who no longer feature for us Healy and Smertin.
Steve Tanner is the man entrusted with keeping things harmonious.
I`d be carried away by men in white coats if I were to predict anything other than a Fulham win. Bolton are not the same team they were under Sam Allardyce and Gary Megson doesn`t quite have the same affinity with the Bolton supporters as Sam did. We expect Fulham to wear Bolton down and emerge victorious, probably 3-1.
Our next Premier League fixture sees us travel to Blackburn to take on Paul Ince`s side next weekend.