We`re off down the M4 this Saturday to take on newly promoted Reading. The Berkshire side hasn`t had the best of starts to life back in the Premier League and Fulham supporters will be hoping that the lads can make the return journey having harvested all three points.
Ahead of the game, Martin Jol has provided the media with some lovely quotes relating to the sale of Pavel Pogrebnyak to Reading and the acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov, whilst also coming out with a paragraph ending, very bold, statement.
See what you think,
“I was bothered at the time when Pavel left, but not any more.”
“Of course I liked Pavel very much and he liked the club as well. But he made a decision.”
“Reading made a very good offer to him and he decided to go there.”
“It was not an easy decision for him, believe me. I spoke to him a couple of times. But he made that choice.”
“At that time, I was very disappointed. But later on I thought, if Pavel would have stayed, maybe Berbatov would not have been here.”
“We got Rodallega, Petric and Berbatov and I am absolutely pleased with those three up front.”
“We look better than ever before, I even think over the last decade.”
Are we better off now than any time in the last decade?
Reading Team News:
Since returning to the Premier League, courtesy of automatic promotion from the Championship last season, Reading have had keeper problems. Adam Federici let in a few howlers and has lost his place to young Alex McCarthy.
On the injury front, their manager, Brian McDermott, may be assisted by the return of Noel Hunt. Up front we expect to see the familiar figure of Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Player to watch: Pavel Pogrebnyak
Please let`s just hope that the Russian doesn`t add his name to the ever-growing list of players that have scored against their former club, although you just know he`ll be dying to do so.
Fulham Team News:
Although Grygera and Simon Davies remain side-lined, Martin Jol has more-or-less a full squad to choose from with Damien Duff being available after recovering from the illness that saw him miss the Aston Villa fixture.
Steve Sidwell will, once again, as was the case last week, be facing a side he has previously played for.
Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov
When Berbatov plays, Fulham play! Simple, but it probably has a ring of truth to it. Let`s hope our favourite Bulgarian has one of his barn-storming days then we`ll be the ones cheering come 17:00 hours Saturday afternoon.
Match Facts & Stats
This fixture usually produces a result with their not having been a draw between the two sides in the last eight league meetings. Of those eight Fulham have chalked up five victories.
As for the last ten meetings at Reading, the record books are evenly balanced with five wins apiece.
Our match officials are:-
Referee – M. Jones
Assistants – P. Bankes, A. Holmes
Fourth Official – L. Probert
Life on the road has hardly been a bed of roses for Fulham supporters in recent seasons, but, slowly, some buds are starting to shine through and I approach this fixture with a calm disposition believing that we can get a win. After all, if we aspire to finishing in the top ten isn`t Reading the sort of place we should be visiting and getting something from? I`ll go for 2-1 to Fulham!
Our next fixture is against Everton, at Craven Cottage, next weekend.