Jol hopes to be back on track
Martin Jol hopes a lot of work in a short time will help Fulham get their Barclays Premier League campaign back on track against West Brom at Craven Cottage.
After opening the new campaign with a 5-0 trashing of Norwich, Fulham have suffered three straight defeats, being knocked out of the Capital One Cup at Sheffield Wednesday and then turned over 3-0 at West Ham before the international break.
Jol accepts it has not been an ideal schedule kicking his heels at Motspur Park for the best part of two weeks as he looks to reshape the group following the transfer deadline departure of Moussa Dembele and want-away Clint Dempsey also eventually ending up at Tottenham.
"It was almost ridiculous after the West Ham game that everybody left for the international period," said the Dutchman. "We could not do a lot with them, but we have done something today (Friday) and hopefully it was enough to play in a different style again with different players. "We threw everything away in the first couple of minutes against West Ham, when we could not stay with the runner from the knockdown, we should have done better. "Now we must look forward to the next game, when West Brom will play a different style, and we have talked about that with the players. "We have done something about it in our training session, so hopefully we will get a better result."
Veteran Greek international Giorgos Karagounis will go into the squad following his free transfer move from Panathinaikos, but Iranian midfielder Ashkan Dejagah needs a bit more time to get match fit after joining from Wolfsburg. Jol is expecting big things from the 26-year-old.
"He is a player who is pretty young, and played in the Bundesliga," said the former Hamburg manager. "I know him very well from when I was in Germany, so I thought to get some competition in that area was good, he also wanted to come to England at Fulham, so it was a nice transfer to get him over here."
Striker Bryan Ruiz is battling to recover from a hamstring problem to play, so Dimitar Berbatov could lead the line on his home debut after a deadline move from Manchester United. Meanwhile, Steve Clarke insists West Brom's flying start to the campaign is no fluke as they search for the win which could take them to the top of the Barclays Premier League.
The Baggies have collected seven points from their opening three games and would move into pole position should they triumph and Chelsea and Swansea slip up at QPR and Aston Villa respectively. It is in stark contrast to last season when they lost four of their first five matches before recovering under Roy Hodgson to finish in 10th position.
Clarke said: "Has the start exceeded my expectations? No. I'm an optimistic person. I knew if we prepared properly for the games, we could get a good points total. "As a coach and as a professional, I targeted nine. But I think seven is a fair return when you look at our performances.
"It wasn't a lucky seven points, it was a deserved seven points. "But, for us now, that has gone, it's (in the) past. We now have to look forward to the next run of games and look to improve and build on the terrific platform we have given ourselves."
Clarke is keen to play down the possibility of Albion going top of the table. He said: "We could be top - but we stay where we are or we could drop down the league. "There are lots of teams below us that could jump above us with a win. It is very early days. "I remember when I was a player, we used to have a bonus system, and you used to wait for your bonus and the league table never counted until after five matches. "I think that is something you learn. Early on, you just get the points on the board. If we are top of the table, that's a bonus."
Right-back Steven Reid is West Brom's major injury concern after he suffered a hamstring injury during the second half of the 2-0 success over Everton. But on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has recovered from the ankle injury whick kept him out of that match.