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Behind Enemy Lines - Fulham

A look ahead to Sunday's trip to the Cottage

Behind Enemy Lines - Fulham
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Everton head to the capital this weekend for a second successive weekend as they look for only a second Premier League win at Craven Cottage against Fulham.

The two teams are level on seven points going into Sunday lunchtime's match, with the Blues looking to end a run of three consecutive defeats in the league.

To help us find out more about Fulham we've spoken to the London Evening Standard's chief football correspondent James Olley and Lucy Howell, a Cottagers fan who has been a season ticket holder for the past four seasons, as we go Behind Enemy Lines.

Martin Jol

Change In The Hot Seat

Mark Hughes' brief tenure at Craven Cottage ended abruptly in June when the Welshman resigned to 'further his experiences.'

The former Manchester City manager's departure left a lot of supporters 'slightly bitter' according to Lucy Howell and the Fulham board recruited Martin Jol in his place.

Jol had been a success in his previous Premier League post at Tottenham, and James Olley says the Dutchman had been Fulham's primary target when they eventually appointed Hughes.

He said: "Before Mark Hughes came in Martin Jol was the number one choice and depending on who you speak to assurances weren't made on either side and basically it never worked out.

"But obviously whatever problems there were before have been solved because when Jol became available again he took the job.

"I was there for his unveiling and he seemed very content to be back in the Premier League."

Renewing Acquaintainces

Striker Andy Johnson excelled in the early days of his career, but the pacy frontman's goalscoring prowess dipped before he was sold to Sunday's opponents Fulham.

A knee injury has hampered his progress in West London but a hat-trick in the 6-0 thumping of QPR means Lucy Howell is hopeful he can recapture his best form.

"You can't fault Andy Johnson's work ethic but the goals have been missing ever since he dislocated his shoulder a couple of seasons ago which really set him back," she explained.

"We've not really seen a true run of him in the team, scoring goals and being consistent - but this is his big opportunity.

"Martin Jol clearly likes him, he works really well with Bobby Zamora and I think he's got goals in him, he runs the channels constantly and he's a goal poacher I just think it will take a bit of time for him to recapture the form he showed at Crystal Palace."

Andy Johnson Fulham

Fixtures, Fixtures, Fixtures

It may only be the end of October but Fulham are already preparing for their 21st game of the season after embarking on a gruelling Europa League campaign back in June.

Martin Jol's fairly small senior squad is being stretched to the limit and James Olley believes the early start could have an adverse affect on their season.

"It's been a difficult start for them, they played a lot of games in the Europa League and a new manager would want to come in and work with his squad and spend time trying to bring in new players and assess his squad he's had to do that against the backdrop of qualifying for a competition that a lot of people aren't that supportive of," said Olley.

"But you have to remember that Fulham got to the final of this competition under Roy Hodgson so there is a certain affinity with it. However, playing Thursday-Sunday is not an easy transition especially when you have a relatively small squad." 

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