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Roy Hodgson admits the two-week international break could scarcely have come at a better time for his injury-hit Fulham side.

A Cottagers side missing Dickson Ethuhu, Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora and Simon Davies battled to a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday in a game that also saw Andy Johnson and Clint Dempsey depart with knocks.

And the Fulham boss accepted the heavy workload was beginning to take its toll.

Hodgson said: “We are having to play a lot of games at the moment and that is having an effect.

“With the Europa League games thrown in the guys have been doing a great job for us playing three matches a week.

“We have been unlucky with injuries, but the players that have come in, like Bjorn Helge Riise, have done a great job and I don’t think there is any doubt we have a squad that can succeed this season.

“But now we have two weeks off to patch everybody up and come back stronger.”

Fulham were tantalisingly close to all three points at Upton Park on Sunday, taking a 2-1 lead thanks to a Danny Murphy penalty and Zoltan Gera’s strike despite being down to ten men after the dismissal of Kagisho Dikgacoi.

But in injury-time Aaron Hughes could only deflect Junior Stanislas’ long-range strike past Mark Schwarzer to ensure a draw.

Hodgson cut a frustrated figure after the stalemate, but elected to back Dikgacoi after he received his marching orders from Phil Dowd after a tussle with Scott Parker.

He added: “I have great sympathy for the player as I cannot see in any way how that was violent conduct.

“He raised his hands though and I know that refs are under strict instructions that as soon as a player does that he has to go.

“But I think refs should be given more leeway as if the referee was allowed to think for himself that would never be a red card.”