Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale has given his support to manager Mark Hughes and claims everybody at the club is behind him.
Hughes will be back in the Craven Cottage dugout against West Bromwich on Tuesday night for the first time since Boxing Day when some Cottagers’ fans called for his head after the 3-1 home defeat to West Ham.
Fulham delivered the perfect response to that shattering setback by recording a surprise 2-0 win at Stoke two days later.
They lost 1-0 at Tottenham on New Year’s Day but it was nonetheless an encouraging performance.
Stockdale will make his first appearance since August against the Baggies with Mark Schwarzer having left for Australia’s Asian Cup campaign.
Stockdale said: ‘Everyone outside the club was asking questions at one point but, as you saw against Stoke and Tottenham, everyone here is behind the manager.
‘The lads put in two good performances last week and I think we deserved at least a point out of the game on Saturday against a top-four side.
‘If you take those performances, we are a top-10 side and we just need to keep believing and we’ll be there at the end of the season.
‘We’re looking to move out of the bottom positions as soon as possible, which I’m certain we will do. It’s just a matter of time.’
Hughes returned the compliment to a player who was set to earn a shock England call-up when deputising for Schwarzer at the start of the season before missing out due to injury. ‘Had it not been for his injury, he would probably have made the England squad,’ Hughes said.
‘He made a real impression when he came in and with Mark absent we’ve got to hope he makes a similar impression.
‘He’s been training well and he has been aware that this period has been coming up, so he’s ready for it.
Stockdale, who will deputise for Schwarzer for up to four weeks: ‘Mark is an integral part of our team and I’m sure his boots are going to be hard to fill and you know that you’ve got to be on form.
‘Hopefully, I can do more than just fill his boots and try to keep hold of the shirt.
‘Before Mark left, I wished him the best of luck and said I hope you get to the final, which would mean more games for me!
‘To be fair, he is a very patriotic person – we’ve had many a discussion over the Ashes.
‘He wants to play for his country and I want to play for Fulham so it worked out quite well. I won’t be letting him back in easy.’