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Fulham V Chelsea at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

Updated 17 Apr 2013 13:22:00

Fulham V Chelsea at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

Fulham V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Duff missing for Fulham

Fulham's Damien Duff will miss Wednesday's clash with former club Chelsea through injury.

The 34-year-old was forced off 10 minutes into Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa with an adductor strain, which will also likely see him miss this weekend's match against Arsenal.

Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell is suspended, while Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) and Mahamadou Diarra (knee) are sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The Cottagers have a miserable record against their west London neighbours, winning just one of 23 Premier League clashes, but could be playing them at a good time given the Blues' hectic fixture schedule.

"I am not sure," Jol said about the timing. "Sometimes you have the rhythm, which gives you the advantage.

"We played on Saturday, we will play again Wednesday and then against Arsenal.

"It is about legs so it depends on who is playing. If they play the same team, that probably could help us.

"If not, they are big enough as a squad to play four or five different players and I think they probably will."

Captain John Terry and midfielder Frank Lampard are expected to return when Chelsea bid to consolidate their top-four place.

The experienced pair were unused in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City at Wembley, but interim boss Rafael Benitez is poised to rotate his squad once more as Chelsea's congested schedule continues with the west London derby.

Striker Fernando Torres could also start in a week which will end with Chelsea going to his former club Liverpool, but Ashley Cole (hamstring), his fellow England defender Gary Cahill (knee) and long-term absentee Oriol Romeu (knee) remain out, while Marko Marin (hip) is doubtful.

Rafael Benitez has urged his Chelsea side to make a fast start and learn the lessons from the Wembley defeat to Manchester City.

Chelsea relinquished their hold on the FA Cup with a 2-1 semi-final loss to City on Sunday, but came close to forcing extra-time with a revival in the final 25 minutes.

The Blues have little time to dwell on the defeat ahead of tomorrow's west London derby at Craven Cottage, where victory and a consolidation of a top-four place and Champions League football next term is the main agenda.

"It was a surprise because I thought we were ready physically and mentally," Benitez said of the FA Cup defeat.

"We had to adapt things at half-time. We conceded an early goal (in the second half), but after you could see the reaction of the team.

Victory would take Chelsea three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, whom they play in the penultimate week of the season, on May 8.

"We wanted to go to the final, like in the Europa League, but at the same time you have to keep an eye on the Premier League," Benitez said.

"Every game is important until the end of the season. Obviously this one, if we win we will be in the top three again.

"We know that we have to concentrate, get three points and be ready for the next challenge on Sunday (at Liverpool)."


PA

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