Roy Hodgson is excited by the prospect of Andy Johnson finally making his Fulham debut against Bolton on Saturday.
The £10.5million striker has missed Fulham’s first three fixtures with a thigh problem but he is now in line to make his long-awaited bow against Wanderers this weekend. The ex-Everton striker could be paired with Bobby Zamora up front if the latter shakes off a knee complaint.
Hodgson said: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that we didn’t pay big money for Andy Johnson to come here to put pressure on other players. We bought him to play and we expect other players to put pressure on him. Andy has looked very sharp in training and he’s extremely excited about making his debut for Fulham and playing again after what has been quite a long absence.”
Hodgson has high hopes for the success of his preferred Zamora-Johnson combination.
“They are both good players and one hopes two good players will find the individual form to be a good partnership. I’m fairly confident that Zamora and Johnson will prove to be a potent and very effective strikeforce for us and maybe that can begin tomorrow. But Bobby has a slight niggle. We are monitoring that situation and haven’t made that final decision.”
He added: “I’ve been very pleased with Seol so the competition for places is high. We’ve bought Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson but I’d like to make it clear their places are by no means given because we’re quite well blessed with players who can give us different types of balance.”
Hodgson insisted he won’t be taking Bolton’s challenge lightly.
“Whether it’s Arsenal or Bolton, the level of difficulty remains equally high and we’ve got to be prepared for what is going to be a very tough encounter. We must work very hard and match them in every way and hopefully play as well as we did for long periods against Arsenal. We’re taking nothing for granted because we were lucky enough to get a good result against Arsenal, because Bolton will come here well prepared.”