That’s what Teamtalk seem to think. It’s not a bad call considering how long the pair of them have been out. AJ gets a lot of flack for not scoring enough goals – I saw someone on another site today had suggested that he hadn’t done enough to justify regaining a place in the side – but I think a lot of his work is deceptive. Both he and Bobby Zamora work defenders so hard during the course of a game that I’m convinced we create a few more chances as a result.
Murphy has been the one who has made us tick in the last couple of seasons. It’s surprising that we’ve such a relatively good run of form without the captain, but it certainly means that Roy will have a few things to ponder in future when he signs off that Fulham teamsheet. For one, Chris Baird has shown that he’s more than capable in a central midfield role that many of us hadn’t seen him in too often. I don’t think Jonathan Greening has been as poor as some of his knockers have made out but it does look rather like he’s still feeling his way a little.
Common sense would dictate that after such lengthy lay-offs both Murphy and Johnson won’t be thrown straight into what is likely to be a physical contest against Bolton. That would give Baird and Greening another chance to flourish – or perhaps Etuhu could come back into the reckoning – and leave Roy’s only real poser surrounding who to play up front if Zamora’s groin isn’t right in time. Clint Dempsey’s two goals on Wednesday have made a compelling case for him to partner Erik Nevland – allowing Zoltan Gera to slot into midfield – and I fancy that’s the way Hodgson will go.