Slavisa Jokanovic is trying to arrange a friendly during the international break to give a number of his Fulham squad some game time before the Whites return to competitive action.
Fulham’s Under 23 side are scheduled to face local rivals Brentford at Jersey Road on Thursday but Jokanovic is keen to use another fixture to check on the fitness of a number of first-team squad members who haven’t had regular football in recent weeks. The game could allow defenders Michael Madl and Marcejo Djalo as well as goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli to gain some match fitness as well as gauging how far along the road to the recovery Tom Cairney and Rafa Soares are.
Speaking specifically about Soares, who came through an Under-23 game with Blackburn last week, Jokanovic told GetWestLondon’s Ryan O’Donovan:
He’s had a few days working with us, we’re going to try, in this international break, to organise a game with another side to check him and check some other people who haven’t had enough minutes in the beginning of the season. If you ask about Rafa, he is comfortable on the ball and is tactically very well and we are going to observe him and how he will adapt himself in this competition and at the end we will bring him in at full-back.
We must discover how he can help us, at the end, after two training sessions with us it’s too early for us and he is not in his physical best level and we expect he will be better [after] this international break. It’s very good for the team and himself to put their fitness in the highest level and the season is long and during the season all the people who aren’t in my first plan will be in part of the competition, 100%, and Rafa Soares must push himself like other parts of the team.
This competition for places is daily, during the week they must compete between themselves and at the end of the week or sometimes in this competition, three times during the week, they must compete against different teams. I will choose what I believe is best for my team to be closer to winning the games.