Fulham manager Martin Jol expects midfielder Mickaël Tavares to feature for the first team during a congested winter fixture list.

The Senegalese midfielder moved to Craven Cottage after the close of the transfer window as Jol swiftly sought cover for the injured Mahamadou Diarra, but the Mali man’s quicker than expected return from injury means that Tavares will have be patient as he waits for a chance to make his first team debut. The 29 year-old, who signed for Jol when he was in charge at Hamburg in 2009, was impressive during the Under-21’s 3-1 win over Chelsea last month, although his lack of first-team football showed at times.

Jol confirmed that he saw Tavares as cover for the likes of Diarra, Chris Baird and Steve Sidwell in central midfield but with the trio now all fit, the former Slavia Prague and Middlesbrough man might have to wait for a Premier League opportunity.

Tavares was a back-up player for me for Diarra and Chris Baird. There was not the situation where I could bring Tavares [into the starting line-up] as well but hopefully he could be involved in the next couple of months.