Fulham boss Roy Hodgson maintains, before the clash with Spurs, that he is not worried about his strikers failing to find the net as long as Fulham are in a healthy position in the table.
Front men Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora extended their partnership goal drought to five games last weekend, with all three goals in the demolition of Middlesbrough coming from midfield.
Johnson has netted four times in the Barclays Premier League this season, but will be looking forward to the Boxing Day clash at Tottenham with extra relish as Spurs’ goal was the last he breached, in mid-November.
Since that 2-1 win the Cottagers have remained unbeaten to lie eighth, with four draws preceding Saturday’s triumph, and Hodgson is unconcerned by his front line.
Asked whether either Johnson or Zamora were suffering from a confidence crisis, Fulham boss Hodgson replied: “No. I thought the pair of them – in particular against Middlesbrough – have got themselves into shooting positions and in behind defenders very often.
“What interests me really is where the team is. Last year the forwards might have been more responsible for the goals we did get but we were still fighting relegation until the last game of the season.
“I’d much rather have a situation where we’re lying eighth in the league with 24 points and people are asking me if I’m worried that my strikers haven’t got a lot of goals. I’ll take that any day.”
Hodgson defended Zamora, who has only scored once since his summer move from West Ham.
“It was Zamora’s shot which the goalkeeper couldn’t hold which meant Jimmy Bullard scored from the rebound so as long as they’re getting into those situations I’m happy,” he continued.
“Once again, it was Zamora’s clever work and good pressurising that produced the penalty.
“Zamora has one of the best assist records of the forwards in the league.
“You don’t even have to be concentrating that hard on the game to see how hard the pair are working for the team and how much they bring to the team with their all-round play.”
The Englishman, who was in the stands when Fulham played Spurs on Boxing Day last year ahead of his appointment as boss, denied that his team would be targeting goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
The Brazilian has made a number of mistakes which have compounded Tottenham’s miserable campaign so far, although he has enjoyed much better form in recent weeks under new boss Harry Redknapp.
“As far as I’m concerned Gomes is a top-class goalkeeper who was signed for a lot of money with a great CV, and I’d expect him to perform like a top goalkeeper,” added Hodgson.
“The way we work and prepare for this game has nothing to do with Gomes. His name will not feature in our team talks.”