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Silva sympathises with ‘unlucky’ Sessegnon

Marco Silva sympathises with ‘unlucky’ defender Steven Sessegnon but has warned the academy graduate that he needs to find consistent fitness in order to make an impression on the Fulham first team squad.

Sessegnon has been restricted to outings for the club’s under 23 side, most recently in midfield, after seeing his pre-season derailed by a combination of injuries and coronavirus. The England under-21 international’s loan spell with Bristol City last term didn’t go as planned as injuries limited him to just eighteen appearances at Ashton Gate.

Silva admitted that Sessegnon, whose last senior appearance for the club came as a last-minute substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in July 2020, faces significant competition from the other right backs at the club.

“He has competition – and not just one, two or three players. Unfortunately, even in this short time I’m here, he’s got some small injuries that are stopping him. He’s not a player who can keep stopping and even before me he got injuries and Covid as well.”

The 21 year-old has been absent from training this week after picking up another knock and will desperate for a injury-free run.

“These last two days, he didn’t work with the team again. He has to try and keep fit and work as hard as he can. He cannot be in and out every single week, because if he wants to match his team-mates in this position he has to work really hard. He’s been unlucky, and he has quality, but he needs to show this every single day.”

Stansfield double sinks Saints

A second half brace from Jay Stansfield helped Fulham’s under 23s cruise past Southampton at Motspur Park and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

The eighteen year-old forward, deployed in a number ten role tonight, had a hand in all three of Fulham’s goals as Steve Wigley’s first shaded a tight first half and then put clear water between themselves and their visitors after the break. Stansfield, who scored a sensational first senior goal on his full debut for the Whites at Birmingham in the League Cup, supplied the opening goal for Kieron Bowie with a low cross and then scored twice in the space of three second half minutes to put the contest beyond Saints.

Stansfield produced a terrific finish to convert Marlon Fossey’s inviting cross six minutes after the interval and then repeated the trick shortly afterwards as the American full-back galloped forward once again to mark a poignant personal night on what would have been his late father Adam’s 43rd birthday. The teenager’s brilliant start to this campaign has showcased both his predatory instincts and maturity, but this was an excellent all-round performance, slotting seamlessly into an unfamiliar position, and playing several incisive passes.

Fulham were indebted to goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond for keeping the scores level before half-time. The England youth international produced three excellent saves as Saints flexed their muscles. He kept out Kazeem Olagibe’s low free-kick that appeared to be heading for the bottom corner before denying Ramello Mitchell as the forward shot from an acute angle and fielded a long-range effort from Kegs Chauke. The hosts might have been in front well before Bowie’s tap in had Irish midfielder Ollie O’Neill added the finishing touch after rounding Jack Bycroft in the Southampton goal, but he somehow shot wide. Idris Odutayo headed narrowly wide from a corner and Bowie’s fierce drive from distance was too close to Bycroft.

Stansfield’s quickfire double effectively ended the game as a contest. Fulham played some silky football in the second period but couldn’t find a fourth to underline their superiority. Steven Sessegnon, featuring on the left side of the back four, came the closest but his curler from outside the box rattled the post with the keeper grasping at thin air. Odutayo was denied when Bycroft brilliantly stretched to keep out another header. This emphatic victory keeps the Whites on top of the early Premier League 2 Division table, with ten points from four games, a point ahead of Norwich City.

FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): T. Ashby-Hammond, Fossey (Larkeche 79), S. Sessegnon, Odutayo, McAvoy; Francois (Harris 45), Pajaziti; O’Neill, Hilton, Stansfield; Bowie. Subs (not used): McNally, McCoy-Splatt.

GOALS: Bowie (39), Stansfield (51, 54).

SOUTHAMPTON UNDER 23s (4-4-2): Bycroft; Otseh-Taiwo, Carson, Lancashire (Hewlett 23), Simeu; Chauke, Payne, Doyle (Ross-Lang.90+2), Olaigbe; Mitchell, Smith. Subs (not used): Ballard, Wright.

Christie ‘not in Silva’s plans’

Marco Silva has confirmed that Cyrus Christie is not in his plans and that the full back is trying to finalise an exit from Fulham before the end of the transfer window.

The Fulham head coach suggested that the club could be tempted back into the transfer market to sign a right back after scans revealed that Kenny Tete’s hamstring injury is more serious than first thought. Christie has not featured since Silva took over from Scott Parker earlier this summer and has already turned down the chance to return to Nottingham Forest after being on loan at the City Ground last season.

Silva told his pre-match press conference earlier today:

“The situation with Kenny has opened a gap we are trying to cover. We have Denis [Odoi], and we believe in Denis, but he is a different profile as a right back. We need something different to have competition between them.”

“Christie knows already my plans. He will not be involved. He’s our player, but he’s trying to sort his future.”

Silva had more positive words for academy graduate Steven Sessegnon, who played in midfield tonight as Fulham’s under 23s drew at Aston Villa.

“About Sessegnon, it’s a different situation. He’s a young player, we can keep him to work with him.”

Sessegnon seals Bristol City loan switch

Young Fulham right back Steven Sessegnon has joined Bristol City on a season-long loan, it has been confirmed tonight.

The 20 year-old defender moves to Ashton Gate in order to gain regular first-team football having broken into the Fulham side at the start of last season. Sessegnon was handed his senior Fulham debut by Scott Parker in the Whites’ 2-1 win at Huddersfield last August and made fifteen first-team appearances last term, but was largely used as a late substitute towards the tail end of the campaign.

The Robins, who signed Alfie Mawson on a similar loan deal earlier this week, beat off significant competition from elsewhere in the Championship to earn Sessegnon’s services. Blackburn Rovers, Reading and Swansea were all keen to take the right back on loan, but Sessegnon opted to join Bristol City, chiefly due to his relationships with the club’s new assistant coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing, who both managed the youngster during his time representing various England age group sides.

Sessegnon told the Bristol City website tonight:

“It took a while but I’m happy to be here. It’s an exciting team with brilliant players and with how the league looks this year I don’t see why we can’t be up there, I’m looking forward to getting going.

“I want to thank the supporters for having me and I can’t wait to get going. When the time comes I can’t wait to see them fill up the stadium, make the noises they make and see the Cider Army!

He (Dean Holden) told me his plans and I look forward to it. It’s an exciting setup here, I think I will have fun and enjoy my football.”

Bristol City nearing Sessegnon loan

Fulham full back Steven Sessegnon is poised to join Bristol City on a season-long loan, according to reports this afternoon.

The newly-promoted Premier League club are keen for their promising right back to gain further first-team experience after breaking through into the senior side last season. The 20 year-old, who was handed his league debut by Scott Parker in a 2-1 win at Huddersfield last August, made fifteen appearances for the club last season, but was largely used as a substitute in the closing months of the campaign.

Several Championship sides were keen to take Sessegnon on loan, but it appears that Bristol City have won the race to sign the England youth international. Fulham are targeting bringing in a new right back ahead of their return to the top flight and Sessegnon, who won the World Cup with England’s under 17 side in 2017, would not be assured of regular football at Craven Cottage.