Fulham defender Brede Hangeland has admitted that he was surprised to have such a long break from competitive action.

The Norway skipper is preparing to face Everton on Saturday having not played during the FA Cup quarter-final weekend, before international football takes centre stage ahead of their clash at Blackpool at the start of April.

The 29-year-old admitted that he could not remember having so much time off since joining the Cottagers in 2008, but felt that it had come at the right time to allow them to recover from what has been an exhaustive winter schedule.

“Obviously we would have preferred to have been playing in the FA Cup last weekend, but as things were, it was nice to have a weekend off,” Brede said.

“I think it was the first time in my time at the club.

“It’s good in the sense that we recover fully but we want to be playing as many games as last year because it means you’re in a lot of competitions, but hopefully this break will enable us to be fully fit for the league games and do well.”

Hangeland was also eager to pit his wits against former Fulham favourite Louis Saha at Goodison Park on Saturday, with the Frenchman one of the Toffees’ best players this season.

“He’s (Saha) a good player but then again there’s always a good striker on the opposition team when you play in the Premier League so we’ll be doing our best as always and we’ll see what happens,” Hangeland added.

“Goodison Park is a great place to go and play and there’s always a good atmosphere. We’ve been quite close to winning a game up there in recent years so hopefully we can do that on Saturday.

“I don’t really look at the league table that much but we know it’s very tight and any points we can get in the bank on Saturday will help us a lot.”