Fulham boss Chris Coleman recognises his new club captain will not emulate Lee Clark’s style of leadership – but is backing him to make an impact in other ways.
Coleman has kept the identity of Clark’s successor a secret but the new skipper will be paraded before Saturday’s season opener against Birmingham with Papa Bouba Diop, Sylvain Legwinski and Luis Boa Morte possibilities.
Whoever has been appointed by Coleman, he will have a tough act to follow with the passionate and committed Clark becoming a fans’ favourite during his six years at Craven Cottage.
The 32-year-old midfielder was a galvanising force for Fulham and it was with a heavy heart that Coleman offloaded him to Newcastle earlier this summer once contract negotiations had stalled.
Now the club must continue without one of its fiercest competitors of recent times but Coleman insists the incoming captain will prove equally successful by stamping his own authority at Craven Cottage.
“There’s no point trying to turn people into a Lee Clark because people bring different things to the party. Lee was an old-fashioned type of captain. He wore his heart on his sleeve and had a strong opinion,” he said.
“But we haven’t got a Clarky-type now. The new guy will have stronger qualities in other areas and that’s why he’ll be the new captain. I’ll reveal who he is tomorrow – he already knows.”
Alongside Clark, Edwin van der Sar and Andy Cole have also left Fulham over the summer to leave the club without their three most experienced players. But Coleman insists little could be done to prevent the trio’s departure.
“Lee did a good job for us as captain. He’d been at the club a long time but we couldn’t agree a new contract with him because of his injury problems,” he said.