Fulham’s bid to edge further away from the Barclays Premiership relegation zone continues against Southampton tonight, with boss Chris Coleman finally enjoying some luck on the injury front.
The Cottagers’ treatment room has been among the busiest in the top flight, but the return of club captain Lee Clark and Newcastle target Luis Boa Morte in the 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day has lifted some of the gloom.
Coleman’s options will be increased further when Sylvain Legwinski recovers from flu and by Claus Jensen’s imminent comeback from injury ( finally providing the rookie boss with the options he has craved when finalising team selection this season.
“We’ve had to chop and change the side and the formations around. Sometimes we’ve been trying to play square pegs in round holes because of the position we’ve been in,” he said.
“I still think that with the players we had available we should have done better. But we’ve missed people like Claus Jensen. He’s a very good player, but unfortunately we haven’t seen much of him through injury.”
An experienced defender is the focus of Coleman’s January recruitment drive as the Fulham boss looks to steer his side away from danger.
Last season the Cottagers shot into European reckoning largely thanks to their defensive solidity. But this campaign has been plagued by uncertainty at the back and they have conceded more goals at home than any other club.
They have had few problems finding the back of the net ( especially with summer signing Andy Cole proving he has lost none of his predatory instincts ( and a fully fit squad would offer a host of attacking possibilities.
But Coleman knows his defence needs urgent attention if the club ( who sit five points above the drop zone ( are to ease concerns they will be sucked into relegation.
“We’re a threat going forward but where we’ve struggled is in giving goals away,” said Coleman.