So, after a wonderfully sunny Bank Holiday weekend, spent at my Dad’s in the perennially sunny Little Common, there seems to be a lot to catch up on.
We travel to Shrewsbury tonight for the second round of the Carling Cup. I imagine we’ll have to field a fairly strong side due to our injury situation, and this could prove to be a good thing with a number of those players benefiting from an extra game. Keller will certainly appreciate another 90 minutes in goal ahead of Saturday’s crucial Premiership fixture against Spurs. With Baird suspended after his red card at Villa it might also give Moritz Volz a chance to fine tune his ability to maintain a high line. Zat might also be missing (see news story below). The Shrews, managed by ex-Fulham favourite Gary Peter’s, got off to a good start to the season winning their first two matches but lost 3-0 to Franchise F.C. at the weekend. They also have a brand new stadium so this will be our first match at the appropriately named New Meadow. Disappointingly there is no need for a man in a coracle any more. My only visit to previous ground Gay Meadow was for an F.A. Cup third round replay in 1996. Interestingly before that game we visited a small pub just round the corner from the ground that was the first (and then only) non-smoking pub in the town, how things change! We went with high hopes and took a first half lead through Rory Hamill (who I think got himself sent off later in the game) but then saw Shrewsbury fight back to win 2-1. I think we were a division below them back then, so a result would have been seen as a good scalp, let’s hope we avoid that happening to us tonight.
Claus Jensen has announced his retirement from Football. There's more on TOOFIF and
Sky Sports. I’m quite sad to hear this. Claus was undoubtedly a very talented player but his problems with injuries since joining Fulham prevented him from making the impact I’d hoped he would. Even at his best I always though he was a luxury player as you really needed two decent defensive midfielders behind him but good memories include his home debut a 2-0 win against Bolton, his extra time appearance, scoring the final goal and orchestrating a win against Derby in the forth round of the 2005 F.A. Cup, and, the last time I saw him, playing for the reserves against Arsenal in April.
The BBC report that Aston Villa are ready to seal a £4m deal for Zat Knight. Can’t say I’d be happy in losing one of our few fit CB’s but guess this means we have someone else lined up. Villa are also still interested in Liam Rosenior who The Sun say is available for around £2m.
This week is bound to be busy with the transfer window closing on Friday and we have apparently got Stuttgart striker Daniel Luboja on trial. Amongst other similar “needing a big front man” stories it’s The People that plump for the obvious and claim that Fulham are lining up a bid for Monaco's 6’ 7½” Czech striker Jan Koller. Despite stories that midfielder Thomas Gravesen is set to snub an attempt to take him on loan from Celtic, both Sky and the BBC report that we have confirmed our interest.
We have also been linked with a bid for young Port Vale ‘keeper Joe Anyon, with an initial bid of £250,000 rejected by the club. We’ve upset the Vale manager Martin Foyle in doing so though. The Vale boss is incensed with the way Sanchez has behaved claiming “Managers deal with managers and I am disappointed with Lawrie Sanchez. I will be phoning him. They made an offer and then have pulled out straight away. Then they have signed Kasey Keller and straight afterwards it was 'Oh we'll be back for Joe Anyon'”. It doesn’t sound like the way we’d normally do business so we’ll see. It does sound like it wouldn’t take much more to sign Anyon who may be seen as a better prospect for a backup keeper in the long term.
Finally in a mini Cookie watch. Real Sociedad lost their first game of the season 0-2 at home to CD Castellon. In his post match interview Chris Coleman spoke of how nervous his players were after conceding in the first half, and that the second goal scored early in the second half forced them to chase the game. There’s also the third Postcard from San Sebastian in the Daily Mail. It’s definitely going to be a long hard season for Chris, I hope he gets the time he’ll need to turn things around.