Just a quick note on the weekend’s football.
On Saturday afternoon, I watched a rip-roaring South Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff. Swansea were captained by former Fulham midfielder Darren Pratley, who had an excellent game. I know that Chris Coleman rated Pratley very highly and was reluctant to let him leave. Both Brentford and Swansea fans were impressed with Pratley when he joined them on loan and Coleman was sufficently convinced with the youngster’s potential to write an option for first refusal in the deal that took him to the Liberty Stadium. He looks an impressive performer for Swansea, but seemed overwhelmed by his chances of first-team football (which admittedly did arrive in the Cup competitions) while at Fulham.
In the same game, centre half Mark Hudson, another one who fell just short of making the first team, scored for Cardiff. He’s had a solid Championship career since leaving the Cottage, having had a few seasons at Crystal Palace before joining City. We frequently talk about the Fulham academy not producing players of necessary quality to break into the side at Premier League level, but the likes of Hudson, Pratley and Dean Leacock – at Derby – suggest that we aren’t all that far off.
By the same token, the FA Cup gives an inidcation of the pitfalls of professional football. Towards the end of Coleman’s tenure, Elliot Omozusi looked like a youngster with a bright future. He didn’t seem unduly flustered by his appearances in the first-team but he dropped off the radar so alarmingly that Roy Hodgson decided not to renew his contract at the end of last season. Omozusi’s now on loan at Charlton, as Fulham seek compensation for developing him and have held onto his registration, but didn’t impress as the Addicks were beaten by non-league Northwich Victoria on Sunday.