Wigan against Fulham isn’t a fixture with a history of great goals. As the Guardian’s preview of the game notes, our eight fixtures have produced a grand total of nine goals. Last year’s 0-0 at what was then the JJB Stadium was actually fairly entertaining, but I remember an utterly forgettable scoreless draw up there in Coleman’s last season in charge.
You would think this might be a tight affair, especially with Roberto Martinez seemingly bemoaning his striking options. Hugo Rodallega, who might start out on the wing this afternoon, has five league goals to his name already some two more than Bobby Zamora, somewhat surprisingly left out of our starting line-up in Rome, can count amongst his Premier League total.
Diomansy Kamara might start up front alongside Zamora if he has managed to shake off a knee problem – and will hopefully manage to avoid being taken off injured at half-time for a third successive game. A goal might help the Senegalese striker celebrate his 29th birthday today and press his claims for a more regular place in the Fulham.
Stand-in skipper Aaron Hughes, who will continue to deputise for the injury Danny Murphy, also celebrates his birthday today – he is one year Kamara’s senior. Hughes has been something of an unsung hero for Fulham. The pundits give Brede Hangeland all the credit and, while the Norwegian has been excellent since he joined the club, Hughes is just as important in the partnership that has steadied what was previously a very leaky defence. Hopefully, both will sign new contracts shortly – perhaps following Roy Hodgson’s lead.
Whilst we were famed for losing leads under Lawrie Sanchez, we are very much a second half team under Hodgson. The tone was set perhaps against Everton earlier this season when, trailing to a Tim Cahill goal, a stirring half-time team-talk inspired a much improved second half display which delivered a much-needed victory. Fulham have scored 10 of their 13 league goals in the second half this term.