Kagisho Dikgacoi gives his first interview to the Fulham website since joining the club. He’s still disappointed with his sending off at West Ham.
Of course, it was a disappointing moment for me, a red card on your league debut is never something that you want to happen. I think I was quite unlucky and it’s something that I want to forget about now. I wanted to offer more that day, so it was an unfortunate incident. I think my contribution up until that point had been good, so it was a shame.
It hasn’t been easy because obviously I haven’t been able to play as a result of the sending off. But I’ve been working hard in training and hopefully I will get another chance to show what I can do soon. Ideally you want to be able to get a run of games going, but I haven’t been able to do that. But I’m confident the fans will see the best of me soon.
The three game ban and the fact that Dikgacoi wasn’t registered for the Europa League have meant more frustration for the South African. As Rich says, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity – and hasn’t Chris Baird taken his chance now. With Etuhu and Dikgacoi suspended – before Murphy picked up an injury – we suddenly looked light in central midfield. Hodgson was critcised for bringing Baird, naturally a centre back, on as a holding midfielder earlier in the season but he has risen to the task and how.
Rich goes on to give a fairly accurate summary of where we are in terms of squad depth, which links back to what both Timmy and I recognised at the Liverpool game. There are a few areas where the squad could do with strengthening.
We have a distinct lack of naturally left-footed players in the squad. Only Konchesky and Duff are true lefties, which presents real problems should either of them be injured. You get the sense it is still a little early for Matthew Briggs and cover for Konchesky must be on Roy’s mind. Signing another Riise might take care of that one. Not necessarily to replace Konchesky, but offer another option. He could even be pushed into midfield.
The other area where you wonder about is up front. Questions about Bobby Zamora have been pushed aside for the moment, since he’s scoring goals and bullying defenders, proving – as he will know – that he can be a real handful. Some have switched to knocking AJ (does he get enough goals, they ask) but that again criminally underrates what he offers to the side. Kamara and Nevland are excellent replacements, but how long will the former be happy with that? And will we ever see anything of David Elm?
The only eventuality when the Swede might get some gametime is if Bobby Zamora gets injured/suspended. It’s not being too unkind on the lad to say that he was far from Roy’s first choice as an additional target man and the squad would seem a lot stronger if we were able to go out and buy someone who would really keep Bobby on his toes. Whether the money’s available to bring in the quality neccessary remains to be seen.
Having said all of that, we’re in much better shape that I thought we were at the end of August. I felt that we could have done with an able deputy at centre back, but it turns out Chris Smalling was developing at a much faster rate than any of the outsiders appreciated. Chris Baird has proved he can step into that position too, until the situation would look a lot bleaker if we just allow Aaron Hughes to run down his contract.
The new arrivals in midfield have been impressive too. Dikgacoi’s right to say his early touches looked good at West Ham, while Greening is quietly proving to be a decent acquisition. Riise hasn’t had too many chances but he looked very impressive against Roma. Damien Duff adds that extra spark and quality – there’s almost a buzz around the Cottage every time he gets the ball. Keep him fit (which seems easier said than done) and someone capable of making a real difference, often from out of nowhere.
Zamora and Gera have also shown that second season syndrome works both ways. At times, both looked like fishes out of water last season. You knew they were good players but, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t happening. I particularly enjoy watching the Hungarian’s feet. The way he took that cross from Zamora and fashioned a half-chance for himself at the back post on Saturday proved that is technically excellent.
We’ve got Roma on Thursday. Tommy Trinder wasn’t wrong, was he? We’re lucky people!