Roy Hodgson will be boosted by the return of Zoltan Gera from injury for Fulham’s Europa League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk tonight but he’ll still be picking from a small pool of players.
Zoltan Gera will be back on Thursday night. We were hoping to have Paul Konchesky but that hasn’t worked out. We were hoping he’d recover for this game but at the moment it looks like he won’t.
Zoltan Gera has returned though and other than that we have the long term ones; Clint Dempsey, John Pantsil, Andrew Johnson and Kagisho Dikgacoi. We only have senior 18 players, with Konchesky, available for the game. If Konchesky doesn’t play we’re down to 17 plus one of the guys from the Academy.
In terms of selecting a Team it’s not that difficult. We’re at such an advanced stage of the UEFA Europa League competition and FA Cup it’s a case of trying to get your best Team out all the time and hoping the players can cope with the workload.
We think it’s fantastic to be a part of this competition. It’s a great adventure and a feather in the cap of Fulham Football Club. We’ve taken all games seriously and when I had a bigger squad in the early days I could change things around and give people a chance to play and use the freshest legs for those matches – fortunately that was a policy that paid off.
Now we’re in the final stages of the competition we’re playing teams of the highest order – you don’t get much higher than the current holders of the trophy. So now it’s up to us to try and put out the best Team we can – we’ll have to bite the bullet if the workload that these extra matches bring about affects us in the league matches.
We think, certainly the coaching staff, and we hope we pass this over to the players, we have a fairly good idea of the type of football they play – and they play it well. They have good quality players and knowing what a team tries to do and watching them play is one thing, but combating it always another.
We know their [Shakhtar Donetsk] style. It’s very much a passing style based on the movement and ability of their Brazilian players who play behind the striker and of course their ability to use the wide areas with their offensive full backs. We know perfectly well having watched them from the videos we’ve watched and the large number of match reports we’ve had on them recently.