Kieran Richardson is ready to prove a point on his return to Sunderland with Fulham, according to his current manager Martin Jol.
The 28 year-old has struggled for form and fitness since leaving the Stadium of Light to return to London in August but Jol believes the versatile Richardson can recapture the displays that made him a Manchester United regular and won him six England caps. The Fulham manager will have a decision to make over the composition of his side this afternoon with Richardson available for selection again after spending a month on the sidelines – and it remains to be seen whether the former Sunderland man will be preferred to John Arne Riise at left back.
Jol has previously been quoted as saying that Richardson wasn’t sharp enough in the early stages of his Fulham career but he has supreme confidence in the versatile left-sided player – judging by the quotes from his pre-match press conference:
Kieran has been injured a bit but he is back now and will be involved in the squad. He is a versatile player who can play on the left, in midfield and left-back. He is a good player and has all the qualities. He had a good season with Steve Bruce at Sunderland when he was left-back, and should be terrific here. You can give him the licence there to express himself and he will be good, I have no doubt about that.
Richardson made 149 appearances – scoring fifteen goals – in his five years at Sunderland and is expected to be given a warm reception at the Stadium of Light. He has already made an impact with Fulham, scoring twice – his first goal coming as a substitute at Southampton and a long-range strike helping the Whites avoid FA Cup embarrassment at Blackpool.
Fulham winger Alex Kacaniklic has joined Burnley on loan until the end of the season.
The Swedish international is Sean Dyche’s first signing since taking over at Turf Moor and has been reunited with 21 year-old after their successful spell together last season at Watford. Kacaniklic went straight into the Fulham first-team after spending two months with Dyche at Vicarage Road and the manager is delighted to add him to his Burnley squad:
He is an exciting young prospect and something different to what we have, which is important. He’s dynamic and can mix up his game. He was with us at Watford last year and was then called back and went into Fulham’s first team, which is obviously a good sign.
He has started this season in the Premier League and got himself a couple of goals. It’s a good link with Fulham. They know their player was looked after at Watford. He is aware of us as a staff and knows he will get looked after here. That’s one of the key things. We do look after players here. We look to develop our own and anyone who joins us.
The 21 year-old started the season as a regular in Martin Jol’s side and has made 22 appearances for Fulham this term, scoring four goals. Kacaniklic has struggled to make the starting line-up since Damien Duff returned to full fitness and, with the on-loan Urby Emmanuelson also pushing for a starting spot, Jol has opted to offer the youngster regular football in the Championship. Burnley currently sit thirteenth in the table, eight points off the play-offs and also eight points above the relegation places.
Kacaniklic is expected to go straight into the Burnley side for Saturday’s trip to Charlton.
Fulham manager Martin Jol has told Simon Davies to prove that’s he worth a new contract at Craven Cottage by putting two months after injury hell behind him.
The Welsh midfielder was a regular in Roy Hodgson’s side and famously scored an equaliser against Hamburg in the Europa League semi-final before following that up with a leveller in the final against Atletico Madrid. But Davies has made seven appearances in the last two seasons after being sidelined by a succession of injuries – including troublesome knee problems – and hasn’t played for the first team since the 5-0 win over Wolves in March 2011.
The 33 year-old is out of contract in the summer but, as he embarks on another comeback, Jol has refused to rule out the possibility of extending Davies’ Fulham career.
The situation with Simon is that we would like players to be productive, and he’s been injured half of the time, maybe more. Hopefully he can stay fit and I’ve got an idea that he can still prove himself again. That’s what he did in the past because he’s a big player for Fulham Football Club.
The former Tottenham midfielder has made 170 appearances and scored 17 goals in his six years at Fulham after joining from Everton in January 2007.
Martin Jol has hinted that he will try and retain the services of Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong for another season should Arsene Wenger agree to extend the midfielder’s loan at Craven Cottage.
The 21 year-old midfielder has made just single appearance for Fulham to date since completing his loan move from the Gunners in January, but Jol and his coaching staff have been impressed by Frimpong’s application. The Ghanaian was drafted in as additional cover for an understaffed midfield area, especially due to Mahamadou Diarra’s extended absence with a knee problem, and his combative hour on debut in the goalless draw at Norwich three weeks ago was a more than creditable start to his Fulham career.
If there was an opportunity to take him on loan, I would probably do that. It is quite a nice position to be in, to get a loan player you do not have to pay a transfer fee. It is a good way of doing things because it would be quite expensive to take him [permanently].
I was impressed with him from the start. He is the type of player you would like as a manger because he is versatile and he can play as well because he is an Arsenal player. He did well for us at Carrow Road and he is getting better and better. I can play him from the start if I want to.
We got only the briefest of glimpses of Urby Emanuelson at the weekend. Havig gone through an extensive warm-up along the Riverside touchline, he was introduced as a late substitute for the tiring Damien Duff as Fulham strove to hang onto their slender lead against Stoke City. The Craven Cottage faithful saw Emanuelson in his natural left midfield role, as opposed to the central midfield position he had filled during his two previous cameos in a white shirt.
The Dutch midfielder was probably the biggest name to make a loan move to Fulham over the January transfer window as Martin Jol bolstered his midfield with a few temporary additions. Emanuelson has been adamant that he’ll return to parent club AC Milan come the summer – and he reiterates that position in a revealing interview with InsideFutbol. It’s clear he still feels he has unfinished business at the San Siro, having suffered through a tricky third season – spent mostly on the bench – at Milan and also wants to force his way back into the Dutch national side. What better way to remind everyone of his enduring ability than with a successful spell in the Premier League?
Even in his three substitute appearances, Emanuelson has quickly acclimatised to the major difference between the more cerebral Serie A and English football:
The main difference between this league and Serie A is the speed of play. Football in England is faster. Moreover, the referees are more tolerant, while sometimes in Italy it is frustrating to see the game stopped every minute because of a foul.
The Dutchman is also candid enough to admit that his move to London has made having to adjust to the fact that he’s dealing with a different kind of challenge for the first time in his career.
It is the first time in my career that I am at a club that does not play dominant football. Both Ajax and Milan were powerhouses in their countries, whilst Fulham have to face giants like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City. Against them you can try to play football, but you can’t dictate the game. I don’t see Fulham as a step back in my career. I am 26. I need to play. Fulham? It was a choice I made for my career.
Emanuelson’s history with Martin Jol might the only reason he’s ended up at the Cottage. Facing up to the reality of a fractured relationship with current AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri, he jumped at the chance of being reunited with a coach who helped him burst onto the European scene during his time at Ajax. The move might just prove mutually beneficial.
He was key to my move to London as I’d already worked with him before at Ajax. Under him I had one of my best seasons. He knows me and I needed a coach who believes 100% in my qualities. Tactically speaking, Jol has asked me to bring more creativity to the team, but at the same time I must take care of my defensive duties and keep the team compact. That’s fine by me, I am an all-round player and I have considered my versatility to be one of my strongest points. Playing a key role both in the defensive and attacking phase is the same thing I did at Milan. The only difference is, as I said before, that in England I have less time to close the space to my opponent or to put a team-mate through on goal.
Emanuelson’s cameos from the bench have whetted the appetite of Fulham fans eager to see what sort of impression he might make on the Premier League were he given a prolonged run of games in the side. The competition for places in the wide positions is fierce, with Damien Duff’s determination making him the first choice on the left and Ashkan Dejagah’s display on Saturday suggesting that the Iranian winger is right to make the right-sided spot his own. The most intriguing possibility is whether Jol could successfully deploy Emmanuelson as a deep-lying playmaker, like Mousa Dembele.
In that regard, Saturday’s three points – which inched Fulham closer to safety – could be crucial. Jol might be tempted to release the shackles over the closing weeks of the season, allowing his side, which suddenly has a collection of flair players, to play a more expansive game that would suit the talents of Emanuelson, Ruiz and Berbatov. If the Dutchman is keen to remind Milan of his ability, Fulham might be in line for an exciting end to their campaign.