Chris Coleman has pleaded with his Fulham players not to allow Luis Boa Morte’s dispute with former Newcastle player Duncan Ferguson to ignite tonight’s FA Cup replay against Everton and spark a mass brawl.
Boa Morte has publicly accused Ferguson of racially abusing him during the initial match at Goodison Park. Fulham are questioning their players to compile evidence about the incident and have yet to make a formal complaint – despite 10 days elapsing.
That delay prompted the FA to write to Boa Morte demanding a “full explanation” of the 26-year-old’s claim.
Coleman fears a backlash at Loftus Road, with the winners earning a home fifth-round tie against Division One West Ham.
Scottish striker Ferguson is expected to play and Coleman, asked if his winger would be rested, revealed: “No. It is more than likely he will play.
“There are a few dodgy tackles in every game but what’s to be gained by anything happening in the Everton match?
“We don’t want to see a 15 or 16-man mass brawl with handbags flying everywhere. It’s not what we want and its not what Everton want and I’m sure of that.
“I hope it doesn’t turn into a mass brawl and I’m sure it won’t. I’ll make sure my players are professional and will go about their jobs in the correct manner – and I’m sure David Moyes will do the same with his players.
“It’s a football match and not a fight. We will be trying to play football as will Everton, and let’s hope it’s played in the correct manner.”
The Boa Morte-Ferguson situation is the latest incident involving the Portugal international and Everton – a history which Coleman admits has left “bad blood” between the clubs.
Coleman said: “It all started off in our first year in the Premiership. There was an incident and there’s been a bit of bad blood in every game since.” An FA spokesman yesterday confirmed: “We have formally written to Luis Boa Morte requesting a full investigation of these allegations.”
Fulham’s former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark is out with calf and Achilles injuries while Ian Pearce is cup-tied and new signing Brian McBride and Collins John are ineligible.