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Fulham V Sheff Utd at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

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03 Feb 2014 15:31:00

Fulham V Sheff Utd at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

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


Cottagers wait on defensive duo

Fulham are hopeful defenders Sascha Riether (calf) and Kieran Richardson (foot) will be fit for Tuesday night's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Sheffield United.


Cottagers boss Rene Meulensteen is again likely to draft in some fringe players, but defender Fernando Amorebieta (knee) and John Arne Riise (hamstring) remain doubtful.


Deadline-day signings Kostas Mitroglou, Johnny Heitinga and Lewis Holtby are all not eligible to play in the cup tie.


Meulensteen feels he has "100 per cent" support from owner Shahid Khan and is not about to "lose any sleep" over reports recently-appointed technical director Alan Curbishley was being lined up to replace him should results continue to nosedive.


The Fulham manager will again utilise his squad against the Blades, but nevertheless has a fifth-round place very much in his sights.


"We know that nothing positive, nothing good comes out of losing a game," Meulensteen said.


"We are Fulham, a Premier League club and we want to progress."


Sheffield United will be without Billy Paynter and Elliot Whitehouse.


Paynter and Whitehouse have both played in the competition for other clubs and are cup-tied so Diego De Girolamo will come into the squad, with boss Nigel Clough confirming a member of the Under-18 squad will also travel.


Harry Maguire (knee) and striker Chris Porter (hamstring) both came through injuries to take their place in the side for the disappointing 3-0 loss at Crewe on Saturday and they have come through unscathed.


There are no fresh injury or selection concerns for the Blades, who will face the winner of Preston and Nottingham Forest in the quarter-final if they can beat the Cottagers.


Clough is adamant that League One remains his priority despite knowing they could reach the last 16.


The Blades head to London searching for a second successive Premier League scalp, following the defeat of Aston Villa, after the original tie finished 1-1 just over a week ago.


A win would set-up a fifth-round tie with either Nottingham Forest or Preston but with his side entrenched in a relegation dogfight in League One, which was not helped by Saturday's woeful 3-0 loss at Crewe, Clough's primary concern is keeping his side in the third tier.


"A cup run would mean nothing unless we start winning in the league," he said.


"The last thing we want is to have a cup run and then struggle in the league and be in the relegation zone.


"Wigan did that last year, I have heard a few people say they wouldn't swap it, the cup is important but not as important as the league."






PA

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