Barry Hayles knows Fulham will need to be at their best to get anything as they approach this weekend’s London derby with Arsenal – but the striker believes the Whites can draw great confidence from their away results already this season.
The forward told Fulham’s official website ahead of the trip to Highbury:
“It is a daunting prospect. But the manager’s been saying to us every day that we’re not going there just to make up the numbers – we’re not going there to be rolled over. As long as we approach the game in the same frame of mind as we did at Man United, then we’ll have a chance.
We’re not going to get carried away thinking about what we can do to Arsenal; we know that if we don’t go there completely on our game and 100% prepared mentally, then they’re going to punish us – they showed that against Inter Milan. But if we go there in the right frame of mind, play to our best abilities and keep it tight then we’ve got a chance. We’ve got some fantastic attacking players here and we know that we’ll make some chances – if we can put one or two of those away, then who knows.
It wasn’t a lucky win at United, we played very well that day. And our away form generally has been very good – better than our home form where we’ve stuttered a bit. I think the fact that we’ve had those good performances takes the pressure off us a bit and we can go there relaxed, and perhaps that can help us get a result.
Getting the win against Portsmouth will help because we know we’re back on track now. Although I would say our confidence hadn’t been affected by the two defeats – we knew we should have played better against Charlton and everyone held their hands up about that, but we lost to Liverpool to a last minute penalty and we thought we deserved something from the game. So our confidence was still good, but it was important for us to stop the bad run.”
Hayles was delighted to return to Fulham’s starting line-up for Monday’s night win over Portsmouth and hopes his injury frustrations are now in the past.
“I missed the visit to Highbury last year. So it’s nice to be fit again and part of the squad. I’ve had a few injuries this season, so it was good to be back on Monday – the trouble was I’d only been back in training for a couple of days, so my fitness wasn’t quite what it should be, but that will come back quickly now. It has been an up and down season for me so far, but hopefully the injuries are behind me now and I can get a good run going.”