Vital Fulham’s top man Andrew takes a break from Europa League action to face our ninth pre match interrogation of this exciting season…
1. After 5 out of 8 league games on the road, City welcome mid table Fulham to Eastlands on Sunday looking to consolidate a position in the top 5. How have the first 3 months of the season been for you?
‘So you’re a top five team now – how the mighty have risen. As for us, after the heights of finishing seventh last year we’ve had a difficult start to the season. We’ve produced a couple of poor performances most notably against Chelsea and Aston Villa but in recent games we’ve gotten things back on track.’
2. The Europa League factor. In echoes of City’s gruelling, squad stretching last season, by the time the Cottagers arrive in Manchester they will have played 16 competitive games already this season in contrast to City’s 10. Last season, City lost 8 of the 13 games played on a Sunday following midweek UEFA Cup action. Many Blues believe that the UEFA campaign came a season too soon for us. Are Fulham finding that domestic form is suffering or is likely to suffer as a result of Europa League commitment?
‘It’s a bit early to say! We’re still settling into the season and we’ve tended to field fringe players in the Europa League against Sofia and Basle and got results. It’s fair to say we don’t have a big squad and that we’ve been stretched by injuries already this season. But playing in the Europa League is great, who’d have thought little old Fulham would be mixing it in Europe after nearly going down the season before last?’
3. The Swedish FA are on the look out for a coach and the widely respected, shrewd Roy Hodgson is on the shortlist after Sven-Goran Eriksson. Yet another example of how highly he is regarded, yet amazingly he has still not been offered an extended contract at Fulham. He’s more than done a job. Do you fear that he could be tempted elsewhere in the future?
‘There is the possibility he could well be. But Al Fayed is a shrewd businessman and I’ve no doubt contract talks will begin soon. Roy has already intimated that he’s under contract so isn’t interested in the Sweden or Norway jobs and I’m certain ‘Gentleman Roy’ won’t just walk away.’
4. The Dangerman. Who should Fulham be paying close attention to at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday?
‘Your forward line is full of players that on their day could trouble any team. Craig Bellamy, if fit, is one we’re particularly wary of, his pace is awesome and if he could just control that fiery Welsh temper…!’
5. Everyone at Manchester City from pitch to state of the art turnstile are very publicly aiming to take on and destabilise the seemingly endless, increasingly boring procession of ‘The Big Four’ – Can it be done?
‘Off course it can! Many suspected that Arsenal would be the ones to falter but instead it looks like Liverpool are the team that’s not yet at the races. From where I stand your club will not really take off until you get that crucial Champions League ticket, if you do, then the rest of Europe will sit up and notice you.’
6. Are The Citizens guilty of ‘ruining football,’ one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club throughout 2009?
‘Only in the minds of those who are jealous. Show me a club who wouldn’t want to be in your position!’
7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?
‘I’m hardly going to predict a City win am I? I reckon we can get something out of this even if it, at best, will only be a draw, 2-2 anyone?’
Very many thanks and respect going out to Andrew and the Vital Fulham team for this great interview.
Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
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