Heidar Helguson insists Fulham’s crippling run of injuries has inspired his team-mates to work harder than ever.
Fulham’s encouraging start to the season has been overshadowed by the loss of several key players, including skipper Luis Boa Morte and the inspirational Jimmy Bullard.
Midfield has been hardest hit with the lack of numbers forcing boss Chris Coleman to play defenders Moritz Volz and Carlos Bocanegra out of position in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea.
Resources will be juggled again for Monday’s trip to Watford but far from damaging morale, former Hornets striker Helguson believes the crisis has united the squad.
“Of course the injuries are going to affect the team as Jimmy and Boa are two of our best players”.
“But if anything the injuries have brought us closer together and made us realise we’ll have to work even harder. We have a very close squad and everyone gets along with each other.”
Helguson believes Fulham will be able to challenge for a place in the Barclays Premiership top eight – if players soon begin completing their rehabilitation.
“We can finish in the top 10 this season for sure,” he said.
“If we get on a run and weather the injury storm then maybe top eight. There’s no reason why not – it’s a realistic target for us.”
Coleman has repeatedly stressed the importance of beating teams in the bottom half of the Premiership, making victory over relegation candidates Watford essential.
Monday evening begins a relatively kind run of games that continues with Charlton, Aston Villa and Wigan, but Helguson denies the coming weeks will be a comfortable ride.
“It’s perceived to be harder to play teams like Manchester United and Chelsea than to play teams lower down the Premiership but going to any ground in the Premier League is hard,” he said.
“I don’t think it matters which team you play against – every game in this league is tough.
“On paper the next month looks easier than the month we’ve just had but on the pitch it is definitely not.”