Fulham travel across London for the third fixture of Roy Hodgson`s tenure as manager it will be his first away game and presents the experienced manager with an opportunity to end our awful away record at the first attempt. Indeed, West Ham United, a team that blows either hot or cold, could well be the team we do end the record against.
Several media outlets have suggested that Roy Hodgson may call on the services of the recovering Jimmy Bullard, this is what Roy had to say on the matter,
“We haven`t ruled Jimmy Bullard out of the game on Saturday completely.”
“It`s unlikely he`ll play because he`s ahead of schedule and our medical team have advised us to be cautious.”
“But I`m certain that if I told Jimmy I needed him to play he would be the first one changed and out on the pitch.”
Possibly a place on the bench for Jimmy then?
West Ham Team News:
West Ham have several players out injured. Scott Parker is the latest to join a growing list after picking up a knee injury. Also out are Nolberto Solano, Bobby Zamora and Craig Bellamy.
However, ex-Fulham player, Luis Boa Morte, could make an unexpected return against us after being out for four weeks with a hamstring injury.
West Ham will select their starting eleven from the following,
Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Bowyer, Mullins, Noble, Etherington, Ashton, Cole, Wright, Spector, Collins, Boa Morte, Reid, Collison, Tomkins.
Player to watch: Dean Ashton
The striker has only recently come back after a long term ankle injury picked up on international duty. He`s highly rated so it`ll be interesting to keep a close eye on him to see what all the fuss is about.
Fulham Team News:
Fulham travel to Upton Park searching for an elusive away win. They`ll be without the injured Brian McBride , Hameur Bouazza and Kasey Keller whilst Jimmy Bullard and Lee Cook will fall just short of being fit enough for selection.
Aaron Hughes and Philippe Christanval will have fitness tests and may play a part. However, definitely absent will be Diomansy Kamara who is away on international duty in the Africa Nations Cup.
Roy Hodgson will select his starting eleven from the following squad,
Niemi, Warner, Volz, Stefanovic, Bocanegra, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Davis, Dempsey, Healy, Kuqi, Leijer, Smertin, Hi-Kyeon, Christanval.
Player to watch: Anti Niemi
As usual the Finnish keeper can expect a busy time as Fulham seek that elusive Premier League away win. Sit back, cheer loudly and admire his keeping skills.
Match Facts & Stats
Last season the sides shared six goal in a thriller with Fulham coming back at the death to earn a very creditable draw thanks to a Christanval equaliser.
The overall record, for matches between the two sides at Upton Park, in the Premier League, makes interesting reading with both sides registering 1 win with 2 draws in the history books.
In all competitions, West Ham have the edge in meetings at Upton Park, registering 19 wins to our 8 with a further 8 drawn.
Mike Riley from Leeds in Yorkshire will journey all the way to the capital to officiate this encounter.
For the last few away games I`ve suggested we`ll end that slump that has seen go over a year without winning away from home. Every time I`ve suffered a rude awakening. Therefore, this time, I thought I`d turn thing son there head and predict that we`ll get a right pasting, 5-0, then I just might get a pleasant surprise or am I really just grasping at straws?
Fulham travel to the ‘Memorial Stadium` in Bristol to take on Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup 3rd round replay during the week before facing Arsenal at home next weekend.