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Fulham v Roma preview

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22 Oct 2009 10:08:58

Fulham v Roma preview

Fulham face their toughest test yet in the Europa League when Italian giants Roma arrive in the capital. The glamour tie should be viewed as a benchmark for the Cottagers on which to judge their progress over recent years. Having secured European football through their Premier League standing last term, Roy Hodgson will be looking for his side to prove that they belong at this level. They have not looked out of place so far, taking four points from their opening two fixtures against CSKA Sofia and Basle. Roma, though, will offer a greater test of their resolve, with the Serie A outfit having tasted life in the UEFA Champions League on a regular basis over recent years. They have made a disappointing start to their domestic endeavours this term, while they came unstuck against Basle in their opening continental contest. They did bounce back against CSKA Sofia last time out, though, and their weekend defeat to AC Milan was their first setback in seven outings. Meanwhile, former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, who is now in charge at Stadio Olimpico, will be keen to leave a positive impression upon his return to West London. Fulham skipper Danny Murphy has a knee injury and will definitely sit out the Craven Cottage encounter. Boss Roy Hodgson is hopeful the midfielder will be back after next month's international break. Kagisho Dikgacoi is not eligible, while Toni Kallio, Simon Davies, Dickson Etuhu and Andrew Johnson will miss out. Roma have been dealt a triple blow as captain and talisman Francesco Totti has not been included in their travelling squad. The experienced playmaker missed the clash against Milan on Sunday following an ongoing problem with his right knee. Totti has been unable to train properly as a result and he will remain in Rome to continue working in the gym. Juan and Marco Motta are also ruled out with injuries, suggesting Ranieri is likely to start with the same team that lost 2-1 at Giuseppe Meazza.


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