Fulham v Basle preview

01 October 2009 09:35
Fulham will be looking to kick-start their campaign when they entertain Basle in the Europa League on Thursday. The Cottagers opened their Group E account with a commendable 1-1 draw away at CSKA Sofia on Matchday 1. Unfortunately for Roy Hodgson that was the last time he saw his side take a positive result, with three defeats suffered in all competitions since then. On a more positive note, Fulham remain unbeaten on home soil in continental competition since making their bow in the 2002 Intertoto Cup - a run which stretches back nine games. They will also take heart from the fact that Basle have failed to taste success on each of their six previous visits to English soil, with two draws and four defeats all they have to show for their efforts. The Swiss outfit are unbeaten in their last seven fixtures in Europe, but they have gone eight games on the road since claiming their last win in the group stages of this competition. Fulham are hoping Uefa will permit them to register Swiss shot-stopper Pascal Zuberbuhler for the midweek contest. An injury crisis has left Mark Schwarzer and Zuberbuhler as the club's only fit goalkeepers, but the latter is not registered for the competition. Damien Duff, David Stockdale, Dickson Etuhu, Simon Davies and Brede Hangeland are all injured for the match at Craven Cottage but Hodgson will otherwise name a full-strength side. Basle, who finished third in the Swiss Super League last season, will be expected to name their strongest possible side when they arrive on the banks of the Thames. Should they suffer no late injury setbacks, they will be hoping to replicate the heroics they displayed in their opening Group E fixture. Thorsten Fink's side secured a shock 2-0 victory over Italian giants Roma last time out, and currently occupy top spot in the standings. Experienced strike duo Marco Streller and Alexander Frei will provide their cutting edge, while Portuguese playmaker Carlitos will also need to be closely monitored by the Cottagers.

Source: SKY_Sports