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Morrison caps Cardiff’s special day with winner

Sean Morrison headed the winner as Cardiff’s return to blue ended with a narrow victory over Fulham – their first win in five league games.

Cardiff returned to their blue kit and duly ended a five-game run without a Sky Bet Championship win with a 1-0 victory over Fulham.

The crowds flocked back following Vincent Tan’s decision to back down from his switch to unpopular red shirts and Cardiff’s second highest gate of the season had plenty to cheer as the change in colours brought an immediate reward. Just fourteen minutes where on the clock when Morrison met Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw and the defender’s header had enough power to cross the line despite Marcus Bettinelli’s desperate attempts to keep it out.

The hosts almost doubled the lead in similar fashion seven minutes later but Kostas Stafylidis managed to block Tom Adeyemi’s back post header after another Gunnarsson throw had caused consternation in the Fulham box. On his return to Cardiff, Ross McCormack was deployed in a deeper number ten role by Kit Symons but the visitors’ best chance fell the way of Ryan Tunnicliffe – recalled from his loan spell at Blackburn – whose rasping drive from distance was well saved by Simon Moore in the Cardiff goal.

Craig Noone looked lively out wide for Cardiff and he nearly created a second for Kenwyne Jones but Stafylidis was alive to the danger and made sure the former Sunderland striker wasn’t able to profit from the dangerous cross. The Trinidad and Tobago international limped off with a knee problem at half-time but his replacement, debutant Alex Revell, almost made an instant impact by teeing up John Brayford, only for the full back to fire wide.

McCormack forced a smart save from Simon Moore, deputising in goal for the injured David Marshall, but Fulham lacked penetration in attack even after Kit Symons had sent on Alex Kacaniklic, Sean Kavanagh and Moussa Dembele in the second half. Cardiff actually looked the likelier to score again but they couldn’t force a second to make the closing stages a little more comfortable. Adeyemi headed wide after rising majestically at a corner and Revell rifled a volley wide, but the Bluebirds hung on to record an emotional victory.

CARDIFF CITY (4-4-2): Moore; Brayford, Malone (John 81), S. Morrison, Turner; Adeyemi, Gunnarsson, Whittingham, Noone; Jones (Revell 45), Le Fondre (Harris 90). Subs (not used): Kim, Connolly, Ralls, Wilson.

GOAL: S. Morrison (14).

FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli; Grimmer, Stafylidis, Hutchinson, Bodurov; Parker; Fofana (Kavanagh 61), Tunnicliffe; McCormack; Woodrow (Kacaniklic 61), Rodallega (Dembele 73). Subs (not used): Kiraly, Burn, Williams, Roberts.

BOOKED: Hutchinson.

REFEREE: Nigel Miller (Durham).

ATTENDANCE: 22,515

West Ham reject Fulham bid for Morrison

Fulham have had a bid for West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison turned down, according to their manager Rene Meulensteen.

Speaking after Fulham’s 3-0 over Norwich City in their FA Cup third round replay this evening, Meulensteen confirmed that Fulham’s offer had been rejected by West Ham but added that he believed that the 20 year-old was keen on making the move to Craven Cottage.

Yes, we did make a bid. Yes, I think he does want to come. He would add pace, power, unpredictability and a real attacking threat. I don’t know what the situation is now, because that’s left with Alistair Mackintosh.

We got knocked back, it got rejected, and so we need to review it and move on. I’ve explained how I think about the situation (to the Fulham board), so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

I’ve known him for a long, long time, but the thing is this: we have to wait and see how the club takes it forward as to whether there’s another bid. Well that’s what we’re hoping for. I’ve made my desires clear so I’ll leave it up to the relevant people to take forward. I don’t know the ins and outs. It’s very difficult in the January transfer window.

People always say, ‘Why don’t you do your business early’, and the answer’s simple, because you can’t. Clubs are in a similar situation, they know the longer they wait the higher the price will go. Or they gamble and nothing comes off. So you always see things stretching to the last week of the transfer window.

Meulensteen in transfer ‘tug of war’

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen admits he is embroiled in a transfer window “tug of war” to bolster Fulham’s Barclays Premier League relegation battle.

The Fulham head coach pledged to do whatever it takes to bring new recruits to Craven Cottage by the end of the month.

Fulham are likely to add a defender and a striker to their squad, with Brondby’s Denmark forward Simon Makienok among their targets.

Captain Brede Hangeland should be fit to return in Tuesday’s FA Cup third round replay against Norwich after back surgery.

But Meulensteen still admits Fulham need more defensive stability, especially after Saturday’s 4-1 home league humbling at the hands of relegation rivals Sunderland.

“There are constant ongoing discussions, but as we all know it’s a difficult time as well,” said the former Manchester United coach.

“It’s a bit of a tug of war here and there.

“Any manager that has the opportunity to do something that he knows will improve what he has, then he will take it.

“Anything that will give us a better chance to stay up, of course you’ll do it.

“Brede is very close, very close, he’s trained really well and hopefully we can introduce him on Tuesday.

“When Brede comes back you get a very, very experienced defender, and hopefully that will give us some more options.”

Holland goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had been expected to make a return from injury in Saturday’s Sunderland clash.

But now Meulensteen thinks his first-choice stopper will not be ready for the Craven Cottage cup showdown with Chris Hughton’s Norwich side.

“He will have to be assessed again: he’s still a doubt for Tuesday,” said Meulensteen.

“He’s progressing nicely, but maybe just not enough to make it back for Tuesday.

“Let me start by saying first and foremost that David has done an excellent job.

“But Maarten is an international established goalkeeper and he has done well for us, so it will be a big boost for us to come back.”

No transfer request from Morrison

Ravel Morrison has not asked to leave West Ham United, according to Sky Sports.

Reports had claimed that Morrison had asked West Ham to leave the club, and that he wanted to join Fulham. The Hammers have vehemently denied that the talented midfielder has made any such request. Although there is plenty of interest in the England youth international, no club has yet triggered the release clauses within his current contract.

The former Manchester United youngster has enjoyed a superb season at Upton Park and has been tipped for inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad.

Mulensteen mulls Morrison move

Fulham are considering a bid for Ravel Morrison in the January window but face a battle to persuade him to leave West Ham.

The 20-year-old has 18 months left on contract and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has already admitted concern that he could be prised away with a decent bid next month.

Former club Manchester United have been linked but manager David Moyes is unsure about making an offer for the often troubled Morrison.

However, former United coach Rene Meulensteen is keen to see if a deal is possible for around £6million once Fulham face West Ham on New Year’s Day, a game for which Morrison is doubtful with a groin injury.