Cottagers duo set to miss out again
Fulham Vs Bolton Wanderers, Sat 28 Nov 2009
Fulham pair Danny Murphy and Andy Johnson returned to training this week but are not expected to make the starting XI for the Barclays Premier League clash against Bolton at Craven Cottage.
Johnson (groin) and Murphy (knee) have both been out for more than a month and need match fitness but could be named among the substitutes at best.
Striker Diomansy Kamara (knee) is out of the match.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has not been surprised by Kevin Davies' resurgence at Bolton after buying the striker 11 years ago but seeing him flop at Blackburn.
Davies joined Rovers in 1998 but Hodgson was sacked early in the season and his #7.5million striker failed to establish himself at Ewood Park.
Following a spell at Southampton, Sam Allardyce took Davies to the Reebok Stadium five years ago and the 32-year-old has not looked back since, with his physical presence in attack even seeing him tipped for England honours.
This weekend he faces his former manager when Bolton travel to Craven Cottage.
"It's no surprise to see his form over the last seasons," Hodgson said. "It's quite strange because the summer we signed him we had a good year and got into Europe.
"People were speaking very well of Blackburn and thinking we could have another good season, and Kevin Davies was hailed as an excellent signing by virtually everybody.
"Of course the major problem was losing Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallagher in the first couple of weeks of the season. We had to throw Kevin in and when it didn't work out for him things got worse and worse.
"He certainly put that behind him and now he's a highly respected front player in the country and a player most teams would love to have.
"I'm pleased with that because I'm pleased to see I'm not totally incompetent when looking at forward players. I'm pleased he succeeded even if he didn't help me at the time."
The centre-back likely to mark Davies is Brede Hangeland, who has signed a new contract with Fulham until 2013, ending speculation linking him with the likes of Arsenal.
"I hope that this will now end months of speculation about my future," he said.
"I have always maintained that I am happy at Fulham and committed to doing everything I can to ensure the on-going success of the team."
Midfielder Tamir Cohen could return to the Bolton squad following a groin injury.
Cohen was forced to sit out the derby defeat by Blackburn, which kept the side in the relegation zone, because of the problem.
Ricardo Gardner suffered a calf strain in that match and Jlloyd Samuel took a knock but both are expected to be available at Craven Cottage.
Bolton manager Gary Megson wants his attacking players to take their training ground expertise into match-day and steer the club out of trouble.
Megson has seen his team tumble down the table after collecting only three points out of a possible 15 and they have not won at the league at Craven Cottage in 17 years.
Not only are Bolton shipping goals, they are also failing to hurt teams and that situation concerns Megson with a trip to struggling Wolves to follow next week.
He said: "It is like a golfer...you can knock six foot putts in until the cows come home in practice. It is entirely different doing it to win the Open.
"It is the same in football. In training the finishing is invariably good.
"But it is entirely different in a game when there are thousands of people about and that real intensity that surrounds Premier League football.
"Does it come down to mental strength? That's a big part of football, as it is in other sports."
Megson expects a positive attitude from his team despite the derby defeat by Blackburn at the weekend.
He added: "The only thing that counts is results and picking up points. We are in the bottom three, so we either put the white flag up or roll our sleeves up.
"The latter is the thing we will do - as we have done it in the past. We know Fulham is a difficult place to go but we have to try and get out of this bad run."
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