Fulham winger Damien Duff has thanked Roy Hodgson for providing him with the spark that he believes has re-ignited his career.
Duff will line up against Wolfsburg tonight as Fulham look to take their fairytale season one step further by claiming a place in the last four of the Europa League. Duff's arrival at Craven Cottage last year brought to an end an unhappy three-year at Newcastle that was ravaged by injury and inconsistency.
"It was well documented that my three years at Newcastle didn't work out so it was a massive move for me to come to Fulham to get my career going again," said Duff, who won two titles at Fulham's west London rivals Chelsea before joining Newcastle.
His hard work and tenacity made him an instant hit with the Fulham faithful, and he has provided four goals and many assists for the Londoners so far this term.
The winger admits his rejuvenation is mainly down to 62-year-old Hodgson, who also managed Duff during his first years as a professional at Blackburn.
He added: "I knew the gaffer from my Blackburn days so it was always going to be exciting.
"Working with him has sparked me again - I've loved every minute of it and it's been really enjoyable. It's just what I needed after my three years at Newcastle. It's been a great season."
Duff and Bobby Zamora gave Fulham a 2-0 lead in the first leg at Craven Cottage but Alexander Madlung's last-minute header gave the Bundesliga champions what could turn out to be a vital away goal.
The Fulham players have complained of fatigue during a long season which has encompassed 53 games and began with a Europa League qualifier against Lithuanian minnows Vetra in July. Hodgson admits such a long season has taken its toll on his side but he is adamant that both he and his players will be up for the game.
"These sort of games fire you up even more and they remind you why you still want to be involved at the very top level," said Hodgson, who took Inter Milan to the UEFA Cup final in 1997. "We've had some great games in the Europa League."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.