Fulham manager Martin Jol believes tomorrow’s opponents Bolton have been galvanised by recent events involving Fabrice Muamba.
The midfielder collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest during the Trotters’ FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham on March 17, leading to the game being abandoned.
It has since emerged that it took 78 minutes for his heart to start working on its own again, but Muamba has made great progress since then and a week ago a picture of him sitting up in his hospital bed and smiling was posted on Twitter.
Jol believes it is no coincidence that Bolton’s fortunes have improved since the incident, with the team achieving three successive league victories for the first time since December 2006.
“It has helped, especially in the first game as they wanted to do it for him,” the Dutchman said.
“That gave them motivation and they got back to winning ways, which is a mentality as well.
“That is why I think they are probably better than before.
“You saw them get out of the bottom three or bottom four as they got points on the board.
“But they still need a lot of points to be safe so I think they will scrap and fight for their life.
“Before these three wins they didn’t do particularly well, not even at home.
“We had a certain style when we played them at home, we hurt them and hopefully we can do that again away from home.”
After Saturday’s trip to Bolton, the hectic Easter scheduling sees Fulham take on west London rivals Chelsea just over 48 hours later.
Jol admits it is an unusual scenario but one that will not result in a mass squad rotation.
“You can’t say you [are used to this situation] all the time because it is probably the first time that there is only one resting day before you play again,” he said.
“You could use several players but I think we need to focus on the first match and then hope in the ideal scenario that they stay fit. Then we have to focus on the next day against Chelsea.”
Fulham were due to find out on Friday whether Pavel Pogrebnyak will be available for the trip to the north west.
The Russia international twisted an ankle in the 2-1 win over Norwich last weekend and was being assessed by the club’s medical staff.
Pogrebnyak is expected to be fit for Monday’s game with Chelsea, but fellow striker Andrew Johnson will definitely miss both matches with a thigh complaint.
Fulham can welcome back front man Orlando Sa after a hamstring injury, although Jol has yet to decide whether to include him or Marcello Trotta in the squad.