Prem Survival Series Part 5: Wolves & Fulham
Fulham appear to be suffering a season long hangover following the dizzy heights of the Europa Cup final last season, and whilst old Roy managed to botch it up at Liverpool, Fulham have suffered a miserable downtown in fortunes since his departure.
Fulham go to Wigan today just a point above the relegation places.
What were you expectations at the start of the season?
After the Europa League Final appearance I seriously hoped that Roy Hodgson would stay on to take us up another notch. But it wasn`t to be. Mark Hughes came in, but without much time to bolster the squad. We started well but drew far more than we won and any hopes of going for a top seven place were soon dashed. It remains to be seen if we can still do the business in the FA Cup this season.
After the highs of last season, what has gone wrong at Fulham this year?
We`ve suffered badly from injuries. Andrew Johnson didn`t start the season and Bobby Zamora broke his leg against Wolves. Throw into the mixer the fact that one of Hughes` signings (a forward) has been out for over seven weeks now and it`s plain to see that we`ve lost our cutting edge up front.
What level of support is the manager receiving from the fans?
little mixed! After we slipped into the bottom two some of the Craven Cottage faithful were questioning him, but thankfully that wasn`t case last night. But it will remain interesting to see how Hughes is perceived when he`s spent his transfer kitty, this January, if results don`t pick up!
If applicable, how many more games should he be given?
If you stick with a manager through the transfer window, is there really any sense in sacking him after it closes? Al Fayed will give Mark every opportunity but if we do go down, heaven forbid, he`ll be gone come the end of May!
What players would you like to see brought/sold in January?
Sold - Kamara, Stoor, Kelly, Greening!
Bought - A striker who can provide that cutting edge we`ve lost with Zamora`s injury!
Where will Fulham finish this season?
I`ve every faith we`ll be mid-table or just below!
As Blackpool chalked up one win after another, we were left looking at which other sides we may have to finish above to maintain our Premiership status and Fulham have proven one of them.
7 defeats from 21 is not a calamity by any stretch (we have lost 12)- but Fulham have won just 4 games all season- the same as today's bottom two Wigan and West Ham.
With Martin O'Neill apparently replacing Avram Grant this evening, I have to reassess my assertion that West Ham are set for relegation. They have already signed a quality player we surely should have gone in for, Wayne Bridge and we can safely assume that Sullivan & Gold have guaranteed significant funds.
Mark Hughes' inability to turn winnable games into wins appears to have followed him from Manchester City- and whilst that trend left City outside the top four (and cost Hughes his job) it has left a less capable Fulham in a relegation battle.
A relegation would leave an ugly blotch on Hughes managerial record and guarantee a second sacking.
I think Hughes is a very good manager who will enjoy the luxury other managers around him won'- financial backing.
If Hughes was going to lose his job I think he would have lost it by now, and you could argue as to whether they could find anyone better.
They prove difficult to beat, but with the money to bring in the missing link, a striker, I think they we will see them turn some of those draws into wins and avoid relegation. 15th/16th.
Thanks again to Putney.
New York City Wolf.