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Fulham v West Ham United

Filed: Wednesday, 30th January 2013
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy has had a few computer problems of late. It's all working now though. Unfortunately...

After a break where, much like Liverpool and Spurs, we didn’t play in the FA Cup, we return to league action with Wednesday’s trip to Fulham. Kick-off at the Cottage is at 8pm, which will give you a bit of extra time to get to SW London in the rush hour.

You’ll be pleased to note that internet access here at the Avram Grant Home For The Bewildered has been restored – the hamster that powers everything passed away and is now forming part of the latest consignment of Tesco burgers now that they can no longer source their stock from Kempton Park. The delivery of a new hamster from the Richard Gere Pet Shop Emporium means that I can hopefully finish this preview before everything crashes, unlike last week.

Our hosts will go into this match in 14th spot with 25 points from their 23 matches played thus far. That’s two points and two places behind us with an identical goal difference of minus 7. Of their last six they’ve won just the one, a surprise 2-1 win up at the Hawthorns against West Brom. They’ve drawn two, both 1-1, both at home with Southampton and Wigan. The three defeats came at Anfield (4-0), at home to Swansea (1-2) and at Man City where they went down 2-0 in their most recent league outing.

Their transfer window so far seems to have been fairly quiet. Last week they brought in Emmanuel Frimpong on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season. Frimpong had a spell at Charlton at the end of the year as part of his return to regular football after a cruciate ligament injury sustained about a year ago and he may feature on Wednesday having not been considered for selection in the 4-1 defeat to Man Utd in the cup at the weekend.

They seemed to be in a race with QPR for Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila, who ended up going to Rubin Kazan. There was a transfer deal to savour. Russian money, Harry Redknapp and Mohamad Fayed all potentially involved in the one transfer. Nothing at all dodgy there then.

It looks like they might have more luck in signing Borussia Monchengladbach striker Igor De Camargo. Although Brazilian by birth, De Camargo has Belgian citizenship and has been capped at full level by Belgium. Yes, you read that right, he actually chose to be Belgian. When I started writing this he was supposedly “discussing personal terms” at Craven Cottage with the clubs having agreed a fee for a permanent deal. Or maybe a loan deal. Or maybe nothing at all. Basically, there are as many theories as there are websites so you pays your money and you takes your choice as to whether he’ll be arriving. Probably too late for Wednesday though even if he does sign.

One who will be available is Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov made his Fulham debut as a half time sub in the reverse fixture back in September. The substitution was a bit of a hiding to nothing for Berbatov, given that we were 3-0 up at the time. Berbatov was the subject of one of the single most bent transfers in English football history when he left Spurs for Man Utd, where he had agreed personal terms and even completed a medical before Spurs had given the Salford lot permission to talk to the player. As usual one law for them….Berbatov is their top scorer this season with seven goals and looked the one player capable of causing problems at the Boleyn in that match. His Fulham career started well with five goals arriving in his first 7 matches but two in the subsequent 12 suggests that he may have gone off the boil a bit.

Second top scorer with 5 is Mladen Petric. This is despite his usually being third choice behind Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega for the striking berths. Rodallega has only netted once in the league since his arrival from Wigan on a free (that must have hurt Whelan) in the close season all of which suggests that the team as a whole have been a bit shot-shy this season.

On the injury front ex-Hammer Kieran Richardson is doubtful for the match with a calf injury as is their Diarra, who has a knee injury and Kerim Frei whose groin is playing up apparently.

Our turn then. Well we got blown away in the second half at the Emirates didn’t we. Well ok we got blown away for 11 minutes or so anyway. However, of more concern were the additions to the injury list. Winston Reid – surely ahead in the “Hammer of the Year” stakes by a mile at the moment – limped out of the Emirates last week with a groin problem. Mr Allardyce’s press conference on the official site was silent on the Danish Kiwi’s status, but with young Potts also missing for a prescribed recovery period following his bang on the noggin and McCartney and Collins both on the long-term injury list, the defence is looking even more threadbare than usual.

So enter then Emanuel Pogatetz then from Wolfsburg on loan. Pogatetz will go straight into the squad for this match and, assuming Reid is unavailable, he is likely to partner Tomkins in the centre. With Potts still thinking it’s five past Easter, Joey O’Brien will most likely return to left-back. It had been hoped that that particular position might have been filled by Stephen Warnock but it seems that, despite agreeing personal terms to join us, he’s been offered a longer term deal by Leeds. There’s obviously something about that surname that makes the owner untrustworthy.

Up front there’s the teensiest chance that Andy Carroll might make a return to the squad. There’ll be a late call on that one as he’s only had a couple of full training sessions but the fact that he is at least being considered as a possibility is good news. Welly Paulista was on target for the “Development Squad” (surely they must be able to come up with a better name for that – How about “reserves”?) the other day but it might be a bit early in the bedding-in process for him to make an appearance, particularly with Chamakh also available.

Prediction? Well we’ve had some woes away from home this season. Some of these have stemmed from what appears to have been a lack of ambition. However, this is a match on a ground that has been a happy hunting ground in the past. Even during the last relegation season, when away victories were as rare as away penalties at Old Trafford, we managed a win there. Add to that the fact that this must be Carlton Cole’s favourite team to play against (the work-experience kid reckons he’s scored more goals against them than any other team) and I’m going to base my prediction on the fact that just for once we appear to be someone else’s bogey team. So the Avram Grant Rest Home For The Bewildered replacement hamster fund (£2.50) will be going on an away win. Let’s say 2-0 to us then.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Cottage: Won 3-1 (December 2010) Despite conceding an 11th minute opener to Aaron Hughes, a brace from Carlton Cole and another from someone called Freddie Piquionne were enough to give us a rare away win in the Boxing Day 2010 encounter.

Referee: Chris Foy. Last seen missing a blatant foul at a Stoke corner for their goal in the 1-1 draw at the Boleyn. Understandable I suppose – what’s one foul amongst so many? Once sent off the Fulham mascot for finishing its dance routine on the pitch. So not all bad then.

Danger Man:Dimitar Berbatov. Probably their best player, even if he disappears for long periods of time when he’s not being given decent services.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Not to be put-off by the general reaction to his laughably stupid idea of sticking a statue of Michael Jackson at one corner of the ground, Mohamed Fayed’s plans to redevelop Craven Cottage includes provision for similar sculptures of Gary Glitter and Jimmy Savile as tributes to their similar contributions to the world of popular music. Probably.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

February 1961: Fulham 2-1 West Ham Utd (Musgrove)
November 1976: West Ham Utd 3-1 Fulham (Lampard, K.Robson, Brooking)
November 1976: Fulham 2-5 West Ham Utd (Pike 2, B.Robson, Brooking, Otulakowski)

Early baths
1955/56: Ken Tucker (a); 2002/02: Tomas Repka (h), Paul Konchesky (a).

They Played For Both
Luis Boa Morte; Rufus Brevett; Jimmy Bullard; George Carter; Brian Dear; Jon Harley; Fred Harrison; Jack Hebden; George Horler; Bobby Moore; John Paintsil; Kevin Lock; Paul Konchesky; Ray Houghton; Tony Parks; Dick Richards; Leroy Rosenior; Johnny Byrne; Roger Cross; Iain Dowie; Andy Melville; Ian Pearce; Danny Shea; Tony Gale.

Bossing It
Our former manager Ron Greenwood also played for Fulham.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by john
03:57PM 30th Jan 2013
''So you sent the dead hamster to Tescos for nothing! You do know how much they will charge for that and will get away with it. HAMster burger could catch on, Sainsburys did sell squirrell.

Keep up the good work, I love sarcasm.''

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