Select Page

Carvalho to miss Swansea clash

Teenage playmaker Fabio Carvalho will miss Fulham’s midweek meeting with Swansea City as he is still recovering from a fractured toe.

The England youth international, who has three goals and an assist in his five Championship appearances so far this season, hasn’t featured since being substituted against Stoke in August. Fulham head coach Marco Silva revealed that Carvalho has resumed training but will not be ready for the visit of the Swans to Craven Cottage tomorrow night.

The Portuguese head coach has had to adjust his formation slightly in Carvalho’s absence, with captain Tom Cairney also sidelined with a long-term knee injury. Silva told FFC TV this afternoon:

“We have two situations with Tom Cairney and Fabio Carvalho. Tom has started running on the pitch. I am seeing him every single day and, even if he is not involved with the team, he is already progressing. Fabio started this week with the team. He is getting fitter every day and, of course, soon we can see him in the squad.”

Dibley-Dias signs three-year deal

Midfielder Matt Dibley-Dias has signed his first professional contract with Fulham, the club have confirmed this morning.

The seventeen year-old, who made nineteen appearances for Fulham’s under 18s scoring four goals as Steve Wigley’s side retained their league title, has put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Craven Cottage. Dibley-Dias, who had spells at West Ham and Brentford before moving to Motspur Park in the summer of 2016, has a significant Brazilian footballing family pedigree, with his grandfather playing for Flamengo and Corinthians in the 1950s and 1960s.

He told Fulham’s official website:

“I’m really pleased to extend my stay at the club. I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and have worked hard so I’m grateful to continue this journey. I think this is the best place for me to improve as a player and further my career as a footballer.”

Fulham’s head of football development, Huw Jennings, added:

We’re really happy with this because Matt’s a very good player in the making. He’s an intelligent midfielder who has had his challenges with injury, but he’s got great potential and will hopefully be back soon supporting our 18s and 23s. He’s got all the tools to be a really excellent footballer.”

Hate won’t win – why Rhys Porter makes us all proud

Saturday afternoon’s scoreline at Ashton Gate was disappointing. Fulham created enough chances to win a couple of games and Aleksandar Mitrovic had more shots than five Championship sides. But any lingering frustration paled into insignificance when you saw how the Whites celebrated the goal that the Serbian striker did score. As one, the visiting players ran to join Rhys Porter, the teenage supporter with cerebral palsy, whose response to horrid social media abuse has been so inspiring. It cemented the feeling that we follow a special football club.

I’ve wrestled with whether to write about this since I first read about Rhys’s story. It is immensely personal to me. This exceptionally brave and eloquent young man and I have the same disability. When I was very young, sport was an outlet for me to enjoy myself. School – and social situations in general – were particularly difficult. There were questions, mockery and bullying about the way I stood, walked and looked. My neighbours, knowing how much I loved football, took me to Craven Cottage. I was hooked immediately.

I soon discovered that one of the players, Micky Adams, had a brother with cerebral palsy. The first season that I really travelled to away games coincided with the magnificent year when Adams, now managing the side on a shoestring budget, guided Fulham to promotion from the Football League basement in his first full season in charge. ‘Micky Adams’ black and white army’ had an extra special meaning to me. I was accepted on the terraces, looked after by people who remain friends and, probably for the first time, I felt like I belonged.

In many ways, I count my blessings that I grew up before social media was a thing. Comments still come my way, both online and in person, but I’m strong enough to shrug them off with a smile these days. Hearing Rhys explain so impressively why he has redoubled his efforts to fundraise for Scope at Craven Cottage during the recent home game with Reading was remarkably inspiring. His passion is infectious and I am sure he will go on to great things.

Such a remarkable young man shouldn’t have to put up with the shameful comments and discrimination that he has. We all hope for better, but we know that society – and sport – remains troublingly unequal. But seeing the way Fulham embraced Rhys last week – inviting him to Motspur Park for a full day’s training, and putting him on the website as a first team goalkeeper, recognising the value of both his brilliant saves and his unstinting advocacy, was wonderful. That the players then took it upon themselves to give him another memory he won’t forget at Bristol City made me proud to follow Fulham.

Some of those friends I mentioned earlier encouraged me to put my thoughts about the matches down on paper. Their suggestions led to a journalistic career – and, indirectly, to the formation of this website as a forum for all things Fulham. As Fulham fans, we’ve come to terms with the fact that the result isn’t the be all and end all. It’s about the Cottage, a storied history, the camaraderie and enjoying the journey. Being able to be part of it together has never been more important.

Rhys’ own words are powerful. Inclusion matters. Hate won’t win. We are Fulham.

If you can donate to Rhys Porter’s Make It Count fund with Scope, I’d greatly appreciate it.

From mesmerising to mediocre: how Fulham are falling short

Yesterday afternoon at Ashton Gate brought breathlessness and, ultimately, more disappointment. The bald facts from Fulham’s last two Championship matches tell you clearly where the problem lies: 47 shots, ten on target, two goals. An awesome August has given way to a stuttering September that has seen Marco Silva’s side drop points to Blackpool, Reading and Bristol City. If the wheels aren’t quite falling off Fulham’s promotion juggernaut, the vehicle certainly don’t look like the well-oiled machine that swept aside opponents in some style in the early weeks of the season.

Silva singled out the officials for criticism after Fulham’s latest setback but, in truth, he was as off target as his misfiring forwards. Yes, Kasey Palmer’s equaliser should have been disallowed for offside – that appeared clear to the naked eye, but the visitors were guilty of missing a succession of chances both before and after the leveller. The chief culprit was Aleksandar Mitrovic, who could easily have had a hat trick in stoppage time alone, although the Serbian striker was far from alone in squandering glorious openings. Both Neeskens Kebano and Harry Wilson also wasted glorious chances when it seemed easier to score – and that failure to be clinical proved very costly.

The Fulham head coach was also upset at how long it took his side to dictate the play. He glowered briefly before charging down the tunnel at half time – perhaps an insight into how fiery his team talk might have been – and the two changes that enlivened his side immediately after the interval were even more evidence of his unhappiness. But the balance of Fulham’s midfield felt off from the start: Nathaniel Chalobah, who took time to settle into his debut at Birmingham, has failed to follow up that encouraging overall performance in two subsequent outings, Josh Onomah flitted in and out of this contest and, plainly, Jean-Michael Seri is not a defensive midfielder.

Fulham looked far more combative and sprightly once Harrison Reed entered proceedings, but it remains to be seen whether Silva will recognise that the ginger-haired schemer is best deployed at the base of the midfield, especially now that Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen have departed. Saturday showed that the new management appear eager to reinvent Reed into a more adventurous raider from the engine room, when his reading of the game and ability to snuff out danger could have been better used to diffuse the Robins’ rousing revival midway through the second period.

Fulham might have been far too passive at the outset against Nigel Pearson’s disciplined two banks of four, but they also failed to adjust after the City manager switched to a back three and threw caution to the wind. Questions have been asked before about the ticker of a team that seems set up to ambush teams going forward and the Whites looked briefly befuddled by their opponents’ own sense of adventure following Pearson’s move to a 3-4-1-2. Palmer profited from finding pockets of space in front of the Fulham back four when he came on and, had Nakhi Wells showed some composure in front of goal, the hosts might have snapped up a second. Game management is one of modern football’s most in-vogue terms: Fulham had none of it in BS3.

Silva’s side clearly miss the creativity of Fabio Carvalho and Kenny Tete at right back, but such is the quality in the squad at the Portuguese head coach’s disposal they can’t quibble about the odd injury. Teams have worked out how to deal with Fulham’s attacking arsenal and when the Whites aren’t able to match the opposition’s tenacity or intensity, they don’t deserve to come away with three points. Rodrigo Muniz has shown enough in three appearances to suggest he might be a source of something different so the decision to send on Ivan Cavaleiro with Fulham hunting a winner in the closing stages was particularly perplexing. One defeat might be a wake up call, two hints at a problem – and, after all the chances that came and went, yesterday’s point felt like another opportunity missed. It is early in the season, and it would be a much bigger worry were the Whites not incisive enough, but Silva sorely needs a ‘plan B’.

Reed rues Fulham’s lack of killer instinct

Harrison Reed was left ruing Fulham’s failure to kill off Bristol City after the Robins roared back to claim a point at Ashton Gate.

The Fulham substitute made a real impact alongside Neeskens Kebano after coming off the bench at half time to perk up a lacklustre Fulham attack. The Whites went in front four minutes after the interval through Aleksandar Mitrovic but spurned numerous chances to extend their lead and paid the penalty when Kasey Palmer turned home an equaliser with ten minutes left.

Reed told FFC TV after the final whistle:

“We’re all disappointed with that one today. We came here, we needed to show a reaction again and the slow start probably cost us today. We got going in the second half, especially in the first fifteen or twenty minutes, found ourselves a goal ahead and then we needed to kill the game.

We needed to come on, bring the energy and lift the boys. I felt like we did that. We just needed to carry on. We needed to score two or three and kill the game.”