West Bromwich Albion Vs Fulham, Sat 23 Oct 2010

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Roberto Di Matteo wants West Brom to make hay while the sun shines by making the most of their current impressive form ahead of the home clash with Fulham.

Albion have been the surprise team in the Barclays Premier League so far this season after gaining promotion and are occupying sixth spot.

Their results include a 3-2 win at Arsenal and recovering from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.

Di Matteo knows Albion could still face a struggle for survival but likens their current form to a family visit to a farm he made this week.

Di Matteo said: "It's like when you're a farmer. You want to bring as much hay into your store as soon as possible.

"It's going to be a long, harsh winter.

"It is freezing cold at the moment. We're happy we've got some hay in there already. But we definitely don't have enough.

"After eight games there are still 90 points to play for, so we have nowhere near enough.

"My family went to visit a farm so the analogy is in my mind at the moment!"

Di Matteo admits he expects Albion to come under more scrutiny from opponents after collecting 12 points from their opening eight games.

He said: "We've had a decent return of points and it doesn't matter to me whether the opposition is Tottenham, Manchester United, Wigan, Wolves or Blackburn. It's about the points.

"But I think the more difficult part will come now. There wasn't much expected off us at Old Trafford or the Emirates or when we played Spurs so now I think it is going to be more difficult.

"We're a newly-promoted team and we were expected to go down with the other promoted teams. I think the opposition will look at us a bit closer now."

Albion winger Jerome Thomas is fit after fully overcoming a calf problem.

But four-goal leading scorer Peter Odemwingie remains a major doubt with the knee problem suffered against Bolton three weeks ago.

Mark Hughes likens the return of Andy Johnson to completing a new signing as the Fulham striker prepares to make his comeback.

Johnson will play some part at The Hawthorns after recovering from a combination of shoulder, knee and hip problems.

The 29-year-old participated in a development match against Southampton in midweek and Hughes insists he is ready to resume a career that has been heavily interrupted by injury.

"Andy should be OK. He came through 90 minutes and we're pleased with that," said Hughes.

"It was the good challenge that he needed to clear his mind. He's available for selection.

"We'll look at the option of starting Andy but it would be more advisable to introduce him slowly and see how he goes.

"He's looked very sharp and we're pleased that he's back.

"He's a significant player for us and it's like making a new signing.

"Hopefully he'll stay free of injury now and he can concentrate on making a real impact."

Fulham are hoping to register their first away win since the opening day of last season, a sequence spanning 22 games.

They have drawn all four matches on the road this term and Hughes believes that elusive victory will arrive soon.

"We've set about trying to improve our away record and we're reasonably pleased with our form in that respect," he said.

"We've picked up points which is important. Ideally we want to get three points, that's important from a confidence point of view.

"At times we show a few of the scars from the fact we haven't won on the road for so long. We must overcome that and stay positive.

"The win will come because we're playing well enough."

West Brom lie sixth in the table, are unbeaten at home and have won away at Arsenal and held Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford.

"If you look at the games and opposition they've played, they've done exceptionally well," said Hughes.

"They've acquitted themselves very well against some of the better teams in the league.

"It's a big test for us because they're an accomplished side who are confident after the results they've had."

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West Bromwich Albion
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