Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez admits he is considering giving striker Shefki Kuqi a surprise full debut against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday after the ‘forgotten’ Finn’s impressive work as a substitute.
The former Stockport, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Blackburn forward has been on loan at Fulham since the end of August after miserable spell with Coca-Cola Championship side Crystal Palace, who paid Blackburn £2.5million for him.
He so unsettled Reading’s defence as a 60th-minute substitute for his Craven Cottage debut last Saturday that Fulham scored two late goals to clinch only their second league win of the season.
Now they go for their first away win in 24 at the home of a side who battered eight unanswered goals past Besiktas yesterday and are still unbeaten in the Premier League.
Sanchez, who took the 31-year-old Kuqi from Palace as cover for injured Fulham captain Brian McBride, said: “We have a lot of good forwards here and it’s very hard to get into our front line.
“To be fair, Shefki was down the pecking order. As a loan player coming in from a Championship club he was always going to be ‘just in case’.
“But he came in last week and did an excellent job for half an hour. The test now will be if I start him, can he do it for 90 minutes?
“After we lost Brian, Shefki was brought in on the premise that if we needed a big frontman he was it and the minute he won his first header it livened everyone up and made the Reading centre-halves think ‘We’re in a game now’.
“But Liverpool will be a different game and we’ll need different things up there than we needed for Reading.
“We can’t be as gung-ho away [from home] and we perhaps need the players that will frighten Liverpool.”
Sanchez, whose team have not won on an away ground in the Premier League since the 2-1 success at Newcastle in September last year, must also find another right-back.
Paul Konchesky completes a three-match ban having been sent off against Derby and 18-year-old Elliot Omozusi is suspended for the fixture after his harsh dismissal on his home debut against Reading.
However, American defender Carlos Bocanegra returns from a one-match ban for five yellow cards.