Fulham V Swansea at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

28 December 2012 03:31
Fulham V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Jol rues absentees

Martin Jol believes Fulham would be enjoying a season like tomorrow's opponents Swansea if they had a settled starting line-up.

The Cottagers started the campaign surprisingly well given the fact they lost a number of key players during the summer, including Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy.

Things have taken a turn for the worse in recent times, though, with Fulham just six points off the drop zone after one win in 11 attempts.

Tomorrow they welcome ninth-placed Swansea to Craven Cottage and manager Jol believes his team would also be enjoying a successful campaign if it was not for the impact of injuries and suspensions.

"Last year Swansea played well but we still managed to finish ahead of them in a very good position," the Dutchman said.

"It is a very talented team, they play with a good culture but I have to say they can play in the same kind of line-up all the time.

"They have one or two different players maybe. They are in a very good situation.

"You see all these teams playing with the same sides all the time, they pick up the points and we had a big problem. I have to admit that.

"We had to change it around all the time and that didn't help us so Swansea is a team.

"If you see Michu up front or sometimes in the hole, he scores a lot of goals. He is there top scorer so he is certainly making the difference for them."

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has told his side they need to prove they can function without Michu.

The Spaniard has netted 13 Premier League goals since his summer arrival for #2million from Rayo Vallecano, almost 50 per cent of Swansea's 27-goal tally at the halfway stage of the season.

By contrast, Danny Graham, Luke Moore and Itay Shechter - Laudrup's other striking options - have managed just one league goal between them so far this term.

Laudrup admits the Swans will miss Michu as he sits out the Craven Cottage clash due to the knee injury he suffered at Reading, but knows they have to find ways to perform without him.

The Dane said: "I think in a few days he could be ready but obviously for the game he is ruled out.

"But I hope with some good work from our physios he can be back on Tuesday (against Aston Villa). If not he will be back for the week after when we have three games in six days.

"To say you don't miss your top scorer would be a lie but you can't count on one player for the whole season without him getting injured or suspended.

"I think he has played 10 or 11 games on four yellow cards. But now he is injured and out of the game."

But there is some good injury news for Laudrup ahead of the trip to London, with Pablo Hernandez and Angel Rangel set to be involved after being hampered by niggling thigh and calf injuries respectively.

"Pablo was more or less there for the Reading game but as I have said you have to be careful with muscle injuries so I did not want to risk anything, and it is important the player feels he is 100 percent," said Laudrup.

"But they are both fit and they will both travel with us so it is good to have that positive news."

Source: PA