No one's going to argue that Fulham haven't had a shocking season so far. However bad it might have been for us, spare a thought for fans of Derby County. A paltry 9 points, a goal difference of minus 44 and only one win. A team already resigned to relegation and fast closing in on Sunderland's record for the lowest ever Premier League points tally. A grim season then but they could play a huge part in our own fate. They face Sunderland at home on Saturday, will play us in a few weeks time and entertain Reading in their final game of the season.
Paul Jewell was not hiding his anger after their 2-0 loss at Wigan last week and didn't mince his words "I'm embarrassed at the way we played. I can accept losing but not like that, it was a disgrace. Some players are not worthy of being here and the sooner we can get them out the better". I like Jewell a lot. I was a big admirer of the Wigan side he got promoted to the Premier League, and considered him a decent propostition for Fulham manager following the departures of both Coleman and Sanchez. I'm not saying I'd take him over Roy now, I like Hodgson enormously, but if we did find ourselves looking for a new manager I think we could do a lot worse than look at Jewell. He has a passion for the game I like and (though my view could be skewed by that fairly brief spell with Wigan) seems to like to play football.
He hadn't calmed down by Tuesday when the BBC Derby spoke to him "I don't regret it at all, What I said was true, 100% true. I'll defend the players whenever I possibly can if there is decent reason. But I'm still angry now and it's Tuesday morning. I have to stand in front of the media and justify certain things - or try to justify certain things. But I'm not going to try and justify the performance I witnessed on Saturday". Sometimes it's easy for a manager to lose his rag with the players and then find he's still not capable of getting the reaction he wants. Jewell must know that this Saturday is as good a chance of adding three points as they're likely to get (Fulham aside) and I don't think there will be anyone in the Derby squad this Saturday under any illusions about what is expected - "I have to be careful I don't make changes for the sake of it but if I was out of the team on Saturday I'd certainly expect to be in it this Saturday".
As we go into a game that no one expects us to win, Derby might actually be able to make a more significant contribution to our survival attempt. I've got everything crossed!
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