Kelly: Early start can boost Fulham

08 July 2011 03:59
Stephen Kelly believes Fulham's early start to the season will stand the club in good stead as they embark on another European adventure.[LNB] Fulham, whose early start has ensured they will play a competitive match in every month of 2011, advanced to the second qualifying round of the Europa League with a 3-0 aggregate win over NSI Runavik.[LNB]Martin Jol's side were frustrated at being held to a goalless draw by the Faroese part-timers last night despite creating a host of chances.[LNB]But the Cottagers, beaten Europa League finalists in 2010, did enough to book a trip to face Crusaders of Northern Ireland in the next round on Thursday night.[LNB]"It's started early for us again but it's got that feeling of another European tour already," defender Kelly told the club's official website.[LNB]"It would be great if we could continue progressing and it's great to go away to different countries.[LNB]"I'd never been to the Faroe Islands before and it's a landscape we would never see unless we were involved in the UEFA Europa League.[LNB]"We should benefit from the fact we're playing competitive games rather than friendly matches.[LNB]"We had good chances and plenty of possession but they defended in numbers and made it difficult.[LNB]"We got a clean sheet and it was a good performance at the back and we're through to the next round.[LNB]"It's been a good test for us and as much as it was a competitive match, it was only our second game of the season on Thursday night.[LNB]"Now we'll be sharper and hopefully that will show against the Crusaders next week."[LNB]Fulham academy graduate Kerim Frei made his first team debut off the bench after replacing striker Andrew Johnson in the 71st minute at the Svangaskard Stadium.[LNB]"I feel proud," said Frei.[LNB]"I've now played in the Europa League and it's always been a dream of mine to play in a European competition.[LNB]"It's a great education for me. I joined Fulham 18 months ago and I've taken it step by step. Now I want to improve as a player in every training session that I'm involved in with the first team."[LNB]Fulham confirmed on Friday that South Africa international Kagisho Dikgacoi has moved to Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee.

Source: Team_Talk