Friday, November 02, 2007

Fulham v Reading - Match Preview

Time to put thoughts of changing our manager out of my mind and concentrate on winning a football match. My expectations are pretty low for Saturday and I have no great anticipation of a turnaround in form. If this is true for a lot of Whites fans then it may be down to the team to inspire us. We're rarely the noisiest bunch in the world but right now we really need to get behind the team and cheer them on to raise their game. The first twenty minutes will be vital, if the team looks sharper and keen to win then the fans will respond, if they look as flat as they have in the last two matches I suspect we could be in for another quiet and depressing weekend.

This is exactly the sort of game we have to be winning, despite the fact that Reading managed a double over us last season. The BBC say that Reading are on a four-game losing run away from home, and have not won a Premier League match in London since defeating Fulham on 25 November last year. Reading's last line up is detailed below and having achieved a 2-1 win over Newcastle I would expect them to remain unchanged.

Goal: Hahnemann
Defence: Murty - Sonko - Duberry - Shorey
Midfield: Doyle - Gunnarsson - Harper - Hunt
Attack: Lita - Kitson
Subs: Rosenior, Long, Federici, Ingimarsson, Convey

Marcus Hahnemann must have surprised any Fulham fan who travelled to Grimsby for his last game in a White (well Green actually but you know what I mean) shirt by impressing last season but has looked less solid this term. Striker Kevin Doyle really caught my eye in both games last season, though at the moment he is having to fill in on the right side of midfield (actually taking Rosenior's place). He did a good job in that role last weekend so unless Liam gets a chance to show us what we lost Doyle should continue in that spot. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know that I was a big fan of Liam's, so to some extent I'd love to see him play against us. To some extent I think he's the sort of player who would actually play very well if he felt he had a point to prove, but I reckon Reading would be a poorer side if they were forced to field him ahead of either Murty, at full back, or Doyle in midfield.

We're short of options at present but I think there may be a chance that Kuqi will start alongside either Healy or Kamara. Whilst the big man may not be the most anticipated of players I think it's been clear that Healy and Kamara don't compliment each other as a partnership and either player would benefit from playing alongside someone like Kuqi. The midfield will probably remain unchanged though I would love to see Smertin back in the side in place of either Steve Davis or Danny Murphy. I cannot understand why Sanchez has chosen to drop him. Defensively things get interesting as I have already considered this week. I think Elliott Omosuzi deserves a second start at right back after impressing at Sunderland. We're without Konchesky and Bocanegra at left back so the choice seems likely to be between youngster Nathan Ashton or oldster Dejan Stefanovic, with Aaron Hughes as an outside bet. Hughes will probably continue in the centre where if Stefanovic is moved he could be partnered by Chris Baird.

I'm not brave enough to make any predictions, just hoping for three points any way we can get them. Come on you Whites!


bq said...

Wish I could bring a band of our Dark Clouds over there to make a lot of noise. But from what I've seen on the boards there are many that seem to think drums, cowbells, and whatever else is sacrilege in England. I guess were much more South American in our approach but we would be noisy.

Chopper said...

Good to hear from you BQ. The noise levels were pretty good today. Definitely makes a difference when we're attacking the Hammy End in the 2nd half.