After the disappointment of losing (again) at Stamford Bridge and thereby slipping worryingly towards the relegation zone, Fulham are on the road again this weekend when they take on high-flying Newcastle, at St James Park. A difficult fixture is the polite way of describing matters!
On returning to an old stopming ground Aaron Hughes had this to say,
“It would be nice to win on Saturday against Newcastle but we know they’re on a high after winning three on the bounce. They’ve been doing really well and causing teams a lot of problems whilst working very hard and grinding out good results.’
Nice, it’d be touching ecstasy after a ten hour road trip to get a win!
Newcastle Team News:
Chris Hughton, doing a wonderful job up on Tyneside goes into this fixture without the combative Joey Barton who begins a three match suspension dished out by the Football Association after an indiscretion against Blackburn Rovers.
Also missing are the trio of long term injury victims Ben Arfa, Ben Gosling and Steve Harper. Doubtful, but subject to fitness tests are Shola Ameobi, Leon Best and James Perch.
Player to watch: Andy Carroll
The young centre forward is starting to establish quite a reputation amongst the big-boys in the Premier League and is widely tipped to receive international recognition in the forthcoming England international against France next week. Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes could be in for a difficult afternoon curtailing this young man.
Fulham Team News:
Mark Hughes, probably still ruing how we never scraped a point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, will be pleased that Dickson Etuhu returned to the starting eleven having missed recent matches. He`ll also be pleased that young Matthew Briggs gave a decent performance in the absence of the injured Carlos Salcido.
Once again Mark will be without the long term injured Bobby Zamora and Philippe Senderos whilst Carlos Salcido will be rated as extremely doubtful. Barring any niggling injuries picked up at Stamford Bridge we suspect the starting eleven, up at St James Park won`t be too different from that which started at Stamford Bridge although with Andrew Johnson getting more and more match minutes you have to wonder how long it`ll be before he gets a start.
Player to watch: Aaron Hughes
One of two ex-Newcastle players in the squad, the other being Damien Duff. If Fulham are to sneak an elusive Premier League win then it`s essential we don`t leak goals. Aaron is a vital constituent of our defence and he`ll be looking forward to going back to hi sold stomping ground.
Match Facts & Stats
This is one fixture where we do have the edge.
In matches between the two sides Fulham have registered 25 wins with Newcastle lagging one behind on 24 wins with 12 having been drawn.
The last time we were both in the Premier League; Fulham did the double over Newcastle in the 2008 / 2009 season.
On the negative side, it`s 24 Premier League away games for us without a win and we`re visiting a side that are only beaten by Chelsea when it comes to scoring goals at home.
The man in charge is Lee Probert who will be assisted by Paul Thompson and Glenn Turner with Neil Swarbrick being the fourth official.
It`s hard to predict a Fulham away win, in the Premier League; such has been our form over the past season and a bit. But there has to be a ground out there where this damned run will end and why not St James Park? Newcastle may be flying high but they are fallible and with Wigan having won there surely we can d something similar, cant` we? Therefore 1-0 to Fulham, a late goal with Damien Duff being the match-winner!
Next up, in the Premier League, is a home fixture against big-spending Manchester City!