Fulham boss Chris Coleman is hoping that he can keep centre-half Ian Pearce fit enough to continue his solid start to the season alongside Philippe Christanval.
Pearce has struggled with back problems for several years, with Coleman expecting at some point to have to turn to Zat Knight and other back-up players.
He said: "People look at modern-day centre-halves who are often lightning quick and good on the ball. But nine times out of ten they don't know where to stand.
"They can make up that ground if they're quick, but their starting positions are wrong. Ian is not electric but he's quick enough and has a good head on him.
"Keeping Ian fit is the main thing. He's had a lot of problems with his back because he's a big lad. If we get 20-25 games out of him then I'll be delighted.
"We've been looking at the defence. We brought Franck Queudrue in, while in pre-season Zat looked very sharp.
"But Ian and Philippe played very well together in pre-season and looked good against Bolton and Sheffield United."