In preparation for tomorrow's game we had a quick question trade with Kristian over at Cottagers Confidential. You can see what we had to say here. Follow us past the jump to see his answers.
Defenders have been playing very well, only giving up four goals in the last five games. How does Fulham
expect to attack such a staunch defence?
At Craven Cottage we are more than likely to cause you problems because we are far more offensive than we generally are on our travels; especially under Mark Hughes. With Dempsey likely to start I'd expect plenty of balls into the box as the American has shown his aerial prowess over recent weeks, but we'll also be mixing that in with an array of through balls for the likes of Moussa Dembele
and Andy Johnson to capatalise on. Saying that though, we're not known for our prolific nature in front of goal and I'd be surprised if we breach your defence on more than 1 or 2 occasions.
CHN: The Cottagers have dipped very low in the table, but seem to be climbing back up a bit. Are you at all scared for end of season prospects? Where do you think you will end up?
CC: I've never been at all worried about where we'd end up come May, as Mark Hughes always has been and always will be a quality manager. We've definitely started slowly but we already have picked up and will continue to do so over the coming months. The only worry I do have is the weight of expectation that the fans have put on the side after our Europa League exploits. We have the ability to finish in the top 10 but I wouldn't call that an 'expectation', while, a lot of others would, and would therefore be disappointed with a very respectable, say, 12th place finish. Saying that, I still do believe we can make top 10; just. I'd go for a 10th place finish by the end of the term.
CHN: Give me two names to be worried about next Wednesday. Who's likely to give us fits?
Given his form, I'd normally opt for Clint Dempsey
as someone to be wary of, but on this occasion I'm going to go for Moussa Dembele and Andy Johnson. Dembele has come across as something of a wasted purchase to some of our fans, given a couple of injuries and only 2 goals to his name, yet I'll always be the first to sing his plaudits. He's a great young lad with the ability to cause any defence a problem on his day. He has the flair to take on anybody and win but can also mix that with vision and a sound knowledge of the game. As a striker, although he's rarely deployed in that position, he does need to work on his final product, but at such a tender age, I'm not too worried by that at the moment. As for AJ, he's been out of form since his return from injury this season, yet, over the past couple of games he's caused all sorts of trouble in the opposing penalty area and even bagged himself a goal in our 1-1 draw with Wigan at the DW. He's not the out and out poacher he used to be and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended this year with only 5 or 6 goals to his name, but his pace is still evident and he seems to have an eye for a pass that he never had before. I'd expect him to bag an assist if he starts on Wednesday.
CHN: Kakuta is coming in. Are there any play time stipulations? Should we expect to see him Wednesday? How much does the loan actually help the club?
CC: It may sound pessimistic of me, but this deal sounds similar to one which Roy Hodgson made with Giles Barnes a couple of years ago. We brought the youngster in on loan only for him to rarely make the bench and never play a minute on the pitch; despite a lot of hype about his potential. I'm sure this deal will be slightly different, though, in that the Chelsea forward should get some playing time; be it on the wing or up front. I can't see the loan benefiting Fulham too much, even if he were to rotate between the strike force and the flanks, as we have decent cover in those positions already, and at 19, he's not going to be a World beater. I'm just being negative though. He may well be fantastic for us. I wouldn't expect him to start against you guys, however.
CHN: Finally, what's your prediction for the match? What eleven do you think Fulham will send against the Magpies?
CC: I can see us taking the three points but not by a huge margin. As often happens with Fulham, we should take ahold of the game but only win by the odd goal, so as to confuse future opponents who will underestimate us. It's a theory that began under Hodgson and looks set to continue under Hughes. In all seriousness though, I can see a 1-0 or 2-0 victory on the cards, with, hopefully, your attack not causing Hangeland and Hughes too many issues. As for the strating eleven, I'd go for:
Stockdale; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Pantsil; Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey; Dembele, Johnson.
I wish Newcastle all the best for the remainder of the season, just so long as you can give us the 3 points on Wednesday!