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Fulham eyeing Bogle bid

Fulham are interested in signing Derby County full-back Jayden Bogle, according to reports this afternoon.

The Football Insider claims that the young Rams right back is Scott Parker’s number one target as the Whites seek to strengthen their defence before their return to the Premier League next month. Other reports have suggested that the Londoners are looking to land the Nottingham Forest defender Matty Cash and have been preparing a £10m offer, with plans to send a Fulham player to the City Ground as part of the deal.

Bogle, who was released by Reading aged fourteen, was handed a senior debut by Frank Lampard in a 2-0 win over Oldham in the League Cup in August 2018. He went on to make 50 first-team appearances that year, scoring two goals, as Derby missed out on promotion when they lost in the play-off final to Aston Villa. The 20 year-old has become one of the Championship’s most consistent full-backs and 37 league appearances for the Rams as they finished six points behind sixth-placed Swansea in tenth despite a revival in the second half of the season that briefly hinted at making the play-offs.

Bogle, who has been capped by England at under-20 level, has previously interested West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton but Derby rebuffed several suitors by slapping a £10m valuation on the defender during the January transfer window. The youngster’s pace and sense of adventure make him a modern full-back in every sense and, with two years remaining on his current deal at Pride Park, Derby could drive a hard bargain if Fulham are serious about concluding a deal for this highly-rated prospect.

Rodak redeems himself

Marek Rodak redeemed himself by making a string of fine saves as Fulham fought back to claim a point at Derby County this evening. The Slovakian goalkeeper, who endured an error-strewn afternoon as bottom of the table Barnsley romped to victory at Craven Cottage last weekend, made three outstanding stops to prevent Philip Cocu’s side from adding to a lead supplied by a cheeky paneka penalty from Wayne Rooney, making his 500th league appearance in English football.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, as he so often does, came to Fulham’s rescue – reviving a rather timid performance with a stroke of magic to guide in Aboubakar Kamara’s cross for the equaliser. The Serbian’s 22nd Championship goal of the season set up a grandstand finish during which either side could have won it, but both ultimately had to settle for what was a frustrating point. The result means Scott Parker’s side are two points behind second-placed Leeds, who host Reading tomorrow afternoon.

It could have been much worse for the visitors who, despite enjoying the lion’s share of the possession against another of the division’s footballing sides, struggled to create clear-cut chances. It was Derby, far more incisive in the final third, who fashioned the game’s better openings. Rodak was called into action first on eleven minutes when a clever Rooney cross was diverted goalwards by Tom Lawrence, who had incredibly shot out of the stadium when presented with the evening’s first chance.

Lawrence, playing wider than he would prefer to order to accommodate Rooney, then saw a 20-yard drive deflected agonisingly wide. The home side were growing in confidence and one majestic move saw Rooney release full back Craig Forsyth into the inside-left challenge but his low cross only just eluded Martyn Waghorn in the middle. Rodak then made a wonderful save at full stretch to preserve parity when Matt Clarke reached a free-kick at the far post and looked to have turned it home at full stretch.

Fulham’s brightest moments involved Mitrovic, who still seemed far too isolated to be a regular threat. He was denied by an intelligent piece of defending from Curtis Davies but, after a sweeping break, nearly diverted Anthony Knockaert’s cross goalwards before heading a Bobby Decordova-Reid delivery straight at Ben Hamer in the Derby goal.

It was Cocu’s team that finished the first period on the front foot. Waghorn battled to win the ball back for Derby inside his own half and the hosts probed patiently for an opening before Lawrence unleashed a low drive from just inside the box that Rodak palmed aside.

The game followed a similar pattern after the restart with Derby looking the more lively in front of goal as Fulham’s rather ponderous passing seemed to be leading nowehere. Andre Wisdom wasted a glorious opportunity on the edge of the Fulham box, blazing wildly over when he could have chosen to pass to one of three team-mates in good positions, but Derby weren’t ruing their defender’s lack of composure for too long.

The opening goal arrived ten minutes after the break – and through a mess of Fulham’s own making. The visitors attempted to play their way out from the back with another short goal kick but Joe Bryan’s risky pass went astray. Waghorn turned Tim Ream in the area and referee Darren Bond penalised the American centre back for what seemed a rather harsh handball. Rooney, a regular scourge of Fulham over the years, impudently chipped home the penalty over a helpless Rodak.

That setack did at least serve to enliven Fulham. Mitrovic floated a free-kick towards the top corner that Hamer plucked out of the air and the Serbian couldn’t quite get to another inviting Bryan cross with Hamer doing his best to put him off. Parker sent on Kamara and Ivan Cavaleiro in a bid to find a leveller – and the changes worked within five minutes. Both substitutes were involved in the move that led to Mitrovic produced a wonderfully controlled volley into the bottom corner from Kamara’s rather speculative cross, with Cavaleiro’s purposeful run and shot rebonding kindly for the Frenchman.

Fulham might have had a second with seven minutes to play when Kevin McDonald’s searching forward ball sent Kamara haring towards the Derby box. The ball fell nicely for Cavaleiro, who should have done better than lash over the bar from the edge of the area. Derby weren’t content to shut up shop and settle for a point – Odoi blocked a Rooney strike before Rodak made outrageous stops to first keep out a rocket from young Max Bird and then readjust in the nick of time to bundle Davies’ attempted finish away from behind him as it looked certain to nestle in the net. The young goalkeeper even scrambled across his line to keep out Lawrence’s corner in stoppage time to preserve parity.

DERBY COUNTY (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Wisdom, Forsyth, Davies, Clarke; Shinnie, Bird; Knight (Jozefzoon 78), Lawrence, Rooney; Waghorn (Marriott 78). Subs (not used): Roos, Lowe, Bogle, Sibley, Martin.

GOAL: Rooney (pen 54).

FULHAM (4-3-3): Rodak; Odoi, Bryan, Hector, Ream; Arter (McDonald 81), Johansen (Kamara 65), Cairney; Knockaert (Cavaleiro 66), Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Bettinelli, Christie, S. Sessegnon, Kebano.

BOOKED: Arter.

GOAL: Mitrovic (71).

REFEREE: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

ATTENDANCE: 25,442.

Opposition in focus – Derby County

Another helping of Friday night football sees Fulham make the journey north to face Phillip Cocu’s Derby County side at Pride Park this evening.

Tonight’s televised game is our first visit to Derbyshire since the memorable Championship play-off semi final and it comes off the back of a disappointing defeat at home to Barnsley last weekend. If Scott Parker needs to lift his troops, he might be able to raise spirits by recalling Fulham’s comfortable 3-0 dispatching of the Rams in November. Cocu and Derby have to be disappointed with their season so far, with the club currently nine points off the play-off places in thirteenth, although the arrival of veteran Wayne Rooney, who has scored nine goals in twelve appearances against Fulham, seems to have sparked something of a revival. Derby are unbeaten in four and have scored sixteen goals in their last twelve league outings.

The Rams, with Cocu finally able to transmit his vision to a squad that contains plenty of quality, probably still have realistic promotion aspirations – especially with how crazy this division remains. As well as Rooney, County have plenty of quality within their squad. Creative midfielder Tom Lawrence has seven goals to his name already this time and former Fulham striker Chris Martin, who has formed a potent partnership with the evergreen Martyn Waghorn up front, will be eager to remind us all of his talent. The pair have plundered nineteen goals between them so far this season.

The home side will have to do without the experienced Tom Huddlestone, a regular scourge of Fulham, who has succumbed to a long-standing calf problem. American midfielder Duane Holmes, scorer of a stunning equaliser at Middlesbrough, is also missing due to a leg injury but Cocu should be able to welcome back the former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom from a hamstring strain.

Parker’s injury concerns are familiar. Harrison Reed is likely to miss out again, whilst defenders Alfie Mawson, Terence Kongolo and Maxime Le Marchand are long-term absentees. The Whites are in dire need of both a performance and a big result at Pride Park to breathe new life into their promotion push, especially after their meek capitulation against bottom of the table Barnsley. 700 Fulham fans are making the journey up to Derby tonight as Parker aims to put the pressure back on Leeds before Saturday’s fixtures.

MY FULHAM XI (4-3-3): Rodak; Christie, Odoi, Hector, Bryan; McDonald, Cairney, Onomah; Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro

My prediction: Derby County 1-2 Fulham.

‘Chris Martin is staying with us,’ say Fulham

fulham-martin

Fulham are preparing to play hardball with Derby County over Chris Martin tonight after the Rams announced that the Scottish striker had signed a new three and a half year contract at Pride Park whilst still at loan at Craven Cottage.

Despite media reports that Martin would again attempt to force through an early return to Derby this weekend, Fulham have insisted that the Scottish international’s decision to agree a new deal with his parent club doesn’t alter the terms of the loan agreement all three parties signed back in August. A Fulham spokesperson told Sky Sports this evening that Martin, who had previously refused to play for the club before the New Year before being reintegrated into the squad, would be remaining in south west London:

The signing of a new contract with Derby County does not impact on the terms of the loan arrangement agreed by both clubs. Chris Martin will be at Fulham for the remainder of the season and the club still has an option to purchase.

The Telegraph has reported tonight that Martin is demanding talks with head coach Slavisa Jokanovic ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Hull City about the possibility of returning to Derby immediately. The Derby County announcement of Martin’s contract extension extension includes these quotes from the Scotland international:

At the start of this season I was not in the previous manager’s plans, which is a decision that I completely understood and respected, and as a result I had the opportunity to move to Fulham on loan. I am thankful that the board only allowed the move on a temporary basis, because I really didn’t want to leave Derby and my family is settled in the area too.

I enjoyed playing under Steve McClaren in the past and I feel that he got the best out of me, so I look forward to doing so as soon as possible. I really am excited and happy to be signing this new contract.

Martin has scored twice in three appearances since his return to the Fulham side but also seen penalties saved in the 1-1 draw at QPR and last Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Reading. It remains to be seen whether Jokanovic, who had loaned Cauley Woodrow to Burton Albion yesterday in anticipation of Martin remaining available for selection and is already keen to bring in two more strikers in the closing days of the transfer window, will include the former Norwich City forward in his future plans.

Derby and Middlesbrough fight it out for McCormack

mccormack

Tomorrow’s Daily Mail claims that Derby County and Middlesbrough are locked in a fierce battle to try and prize Ross McCormack away from Fulham.

The Scottish international has scored 15 goals in the Championship this season and the two promotion contenders are prepared to test Fulham’s desire to retain the services of their key player by tabling big-money offers during the January transfer window. The Mail suggests that both sides have already contacted Fulham to ascertain whether McCormack will be available for transfer, although new Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic publically stated after Saturday’s defeat by Sheffield Wednesday that he wouldn’t consider parting with either the 29 year-old or Moussa Dembele.

Fulham are keen to resist offers for McCormack, who has scored a goal every two games since arriving at Craven Cottage from Leeds last summer, and he has already indicated a willingness to remain with the Londoners after extending his contract until 2019 back in August.