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Sanchez: No problems with Helguson

Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez insists he has no quarrel with Heidar Helguson ahead of his return to Craven Cottage.

The Iceland international was allowed to leave the west London club over the summer and will be pushing for a starting position with new club Bolton on Wednesday night.

In his two years at Craven Cottage Helguson scored only 11 goals in 57 league appearances.

Sanchez took the decision to let him move to Lancashire after bringing in new frontmen David Healy and Diomansy Kamara.

But he claims there will be no hard feelings when the pair come face to face.

“There is no gripe against him, he did well during his time at the club,” Sanchez said.

“My feeling was that someone wanted him, and could I reinvest the money better?

“He and Michael Brown were the only players other clubs wanted and we made a decision they could go.

“Heidar is in his 30s, as is Michael, and we looked at the money offered in comparison to how long was left on contracts.

“Heidar has no point to prove to me – but when you go back to your old club you always want to leave your mark.”

New signing Healy has already proved his critics wrong since making a switch from Leeds.

He has had to deal with questions over whether he can cut it in the Barclays Premier League, but he made the perfect start on Sunday as he scored within 50 seconds of his debut at Arsenal.

However, Sanchez has told all of his players they are fighting for their future at the club.

He added: “David scored with his second touch in the Premier League. He kicked off, and then scored.

“It is a big season for all the players we have brought in. We have had a lot of change over the summer, and we probably will next summer too.

“It was interesting to see that 11 players scored last weekend who were making their debuts.

“I think that is the general way in football now. It is about changing personnel fairly regularly.”

Helguson joins Bolton

Bolton have confirmed they are set to complete the signing of Fulham striker Heidar Helguson for an undisclosed fee expected to be around £1.5million.

The Iceland international has agreed a three-year deal and passed a medical yesterday, with the rest of the formalities to be completed today.

Trotters boss Sammy Lee told the club’s official website,”I like Helguson a lot. He has a great work ethic and understands the demands of the Premier League.”

“I have always been an admirer of his attitude to the game and his ability to score goals at vital times.”

The 29-year-old joined the Cottagers in summer 2005 in a £1.1million transfer from Watford and scored 12 goals in 57 appearances at Craven Cottage.

Helguson should make his debut for the club next Wednesday when Bolton face Hibernian in Edinburgh

Helguson set for Watford return?

Watford are close to re-signing Heidar Helguson for £2million from Fulham.

The Hornets are set to table a formal bid for the Icelandic striker who is resigned to leaving Craven Cottage after falling out of favour with new boss Lawrie Sanchez.

After rejecting a move to West Bromwich Albion as part of the deal that took Diomansy Kamara to Fulham, Helguson is attracting interest from West Ham and Charlton as well as the Hornets.

“I’m keen on Heidar,” admitted Boothroyd this week. “But these things take time. There is a valuation to be met, the managers have to agree and the player has to want to come. We will make contact with Fulham shortly.”

Boothroyd sold the player for £1.3m in June 2005 and ruled out a return swoop for the player in January. However, the manager has undergone a change of heart and has now made Helguson his number one target.

“He did great great for us and scored the two goals against Stoke and Rotherham that kept us up when I first joined,” said Boothroyd.

“It was a major gamble to sell but I needed the money to enhance the team. Now we are in a better position financially to bring him back, if all things are right. He would be perfect for us as he would give us great options up front.”

Helguson and McBride shoot down Newcastle

Second-half strikes from Heidar Helguson and Brian McBride helped Fulham back to winning ways as the Whites beat a below-par Newcastle at Craven Cottage.

This impressive victory completed a league double over the Magpies after Fulham’s smash and grab raid at St. James’ Park in September. Chris Coleman’s side were in complete command after the manager demanded a better performance than the tame display served up at Sheffield United on Tuesday, although it took a Nicky Butt howler to hand Helguson the opener four minutes after half time. Papa Bouba Diop created the second for McBride and Oguchi Onyewu was fortunate not to be sent off on his debut after pulling down Helguson. Newcastle were well beaten long before Obafemi Martins’ grabbed a consolation at the death.

Chances were far and far between in a scrappy first half. Helguson nearly latched onto a short back header from Stephen Carr and Wayne Routledge grazed the crossbar with a rising drive after venturing inside from the left. Newcastle’s best openings came in stoppage time when Jan Lastuvka, who took the goalkeeping gloves after Antti Niemi was injured in the warm up, parried a fierce Martins’ shot and Steven Taylor and Kieron Dyer saw their attempts to force home the rebound block.

The visitors had started the second half brightly but all that was academic after Butt left a backpass well short of Harper and Helguson raced onto the loose-ball to lash high into the net. The Newcastle goalkeeper then made a magnificent save from Simon Davies’ header and more routine one from the ensuing corner to deny Franck Quedrue. James Milner struck a 30-yard free kick fractionally wide of Lastuvka’s left-hand post, but that was fleeting respite for Newcastle’s backline. The pressure seemed to get to Onyewu who pulled down Helguson after giving away possession and somehow avoided a red card.

Diop, who wasn’t supposed to be in Coleman’s sixteen-man squad before Niemi’s untimely injury, made his first appearance since December off the pitch and the powerful Senegalese midfielder seized his chance to shine. He surged away from Stephen Carr down the right and cut a precise ball back for McBride, who rolled in his eleventh of the season with twenty minutes to play. The American could have made it three but saw his shot blocked, before Martins lashed a low finish past Lastuvka deep into added time. It mattered little.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Lastuvka; Rosenior, Quedrue, Christanval, Bocanegra; Brown, Volz (Diop 67), Routledge (Dempsey 78), Davies; Helguson, McBride (Montella 80). Subs (not used): Knight, Radzinski.

BOOKED: Bocanegra.

GOALS: Helguson (49), McBride (73).

NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-5-1): Harper; Carr, Bramble, Onyewu, Taylor; Milner, Parker, Butt, Duff (Sibierski 68), Dyer (Solano 85); Martins. Subs (not used): Srnicek, Huntington, O’Brien.

BOOKED: Butt, Bramble, Milner.

GOAL: Martins (90).

REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).


Helguson free to face Charlton

Fulham striker Heidar Helguson is widely reported as being suspended for the Charlton game.

But that is not correct. The Icelandic international will need to serve a suspension after picking up five books, but FA rules specify that the ban only starts seven days after the game in which the offence occurs. Helguson’s last caution came against West Ham so he will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge rather than the Valley.