Fulham Vs Aston Villa, Sat 13 Aug 2011

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Bobby Zamora will lead the Fulham attack against Aston Villa despite having a broken hand.

The England striker suffered the injury playing at NK Split in the Europa League two weeks ago, but played the return leg while wearing a protective cast and will do the same on Saturday.

John Arne Riise is likely to make his Premier League debut for the Cottagers but his brother Bjorn Helge is out with a minor hamstring problem and Simon Davies (knee) is also unavailable.

Jol had worried that this weekend's clash in London would be called off due to the unrest in the capital.

With the game now being given the go-ahead, Jol is relishing his return to the English top flight after spending the last six weeks playing Europa League qualifiers against sub-standard opposition.

"We are very happy that the game is on," Jol said.

"The main thing was that we wanted to play football.

"I don't see there is a lot of difference in playing friendlies (or playing in the Europa League qualifiers). It wasn't as if we were playing Inter Milan or Ajax. It was Crusaders and Split.

"Hopefully it will have given us enough preparation for the season."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has virtually a full squad to pick from.

Striker Darren Bent and central defender James Collins have recovered from shoulder and back injuries respectively which prevented their involvement with England and Wales this week.

Charles N'Zogbia and Shay Given are poised for their league debuts following their summer arrivals with Rangers target Carlos Cuellar (knee) the only player unavailable for selection.

McLeish has called for patience from Aston Villa fans accustomed to demanding success as he sets his sights on a season of "steady progress."

In an ideal world, McLeish would like to surpass the 2010-11 achievement of finishing ninth and challenge for a European spot.

But he is also realistic after losing several experienced players this summer, including Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, and having to reduce a sizeable wage bill.

McLeish is looking for some of the club's promising youngsters, such as Fabian Delph, to make their mark plus players out in the cold under Gerard Houllier in Stephen Warnock and Stephen Ireland.

The Scot said: "We've lost some very experienced players, don't forget, and we are looking for young players to make the breakthrough.

"That might not happen so people may have to be patient in terms of where we finish in the league. We finished very healthily in ninth position after the first half of last season was difficult.

"If we can maintain a steady progress throughout the season, that would be heading in the right direction.

"Would a top 10 finish would be okay? I think that would terrific. I think that would be an achievement for the players but we will try and aim higher than that."

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Stewart Downing
Bobby Zamora
Stephen Ireland
Premier League
Fabian Delph
Carlos Cuellar
Simon Davies
Ashley Young
Shay Given
Stephen Warnock
James Collins
Aston Villa
Charles N'Zogbia
Darren Bent
John Arne Riise

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