Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez is plotting a way to stop England’s born-again hero Emile Heskey.
The Cottagers travel to Wigan on Saturday hoping to end their dismal record of two away wins in the past 17 months.
Defender Aaron Hughes has overcome an ankle injury and is finally preparing for his debut as they travel to the JJB Stadium.
But his first task is likely to be a difficult one – marking Heskey.
Heskey is in fantastic form following an international period during which he performed admirably against Israel and Russia.
Sanchez is one of his biggest supporters, and would love to have the striker within his own ranks.
“I have always liked Emile,” Sanchez said. “I think he has been given a hard time but it is nice to see an English team whack the ball up to a centre-forward to head down for the little striker to score.
“I think Emile has been hard done by in this country. If he became available he’d certainly be a player I would be interested in.
“Emile is a man-mountain and when he uses his strength, weight and height there are not many people who can stop him. Russia and Israel found that out the other day.
“I think he would be very disappointed now if he did not play in the next games for England and get them to the European Championships.”
Reflecting on the way his own side might shackle the former England man, Sanchez said: “You have to stop the service to him. And it is not the first ball you need to be worried about, it is the second ball you need to deal with.”
Sanchez lost captain and target man Brian McBride to a dislocated knee last month, and is still coming to terms with the loss.
Shefki Kuqi was signed on loan from Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day, in a bid to give David Healy a domineering figure to play alongside.
He could figure at some stage at Wigan, and Sanchez has explained his decision to take on a forward who struggled to make an impact at Selhurst Park.
“We have signed him until Christmas time and I told him it was a chance for him to get his career back on track,” said Sanchez.
“He is a bull of a man. There is no secret that we wanted a centre-forward to replace Brian McBride in that mould.
“I am not sure why it went wrong for him at Palace, let’s just see if he can do it here. It is a chance for him.”
Another player who is likely to make a debut at Wigan is midfielder Danny Murphy.
He has joined Fulham on a one-year deal from Tottenham, and Sanchez hopes his experience give Fulham an extra dimension.
“I certainly see him playing in the centre of midfield,” Sanchez added. “He also adds goals, he’s got a good shot on him and is a good free-kick taker. He has many qualities and he’s got to show us what he can do for Fulham.”