Fulham back among the goals ahead of Spurs FA Cup clash
THERE have been strong signs of recovery at Fulham since the Cottagers last crossed swords with Tottenham on New Year’s Day.
Spurs’ 1-0 win increased the pressure on Mark Hughes’ side, whose failure to score left them with six goals from nine games – and in a very precarious position.
However, since then, the goals have been flooding in, and so have the points – particularly at home.
Fulham responded to their loss in north London by thumping West Brom 3-0 at Craven Cottage and they then battered Peterborough 6-2 by the Thames in the FA Cup third round.
That was followed by a 1-1 draw at Wigan and then a 2-0 home win over Stoke on Saturday, which took Hughes’ outfit four points clear of the relegation zone ahead of their trip to Anfield on Wednesday night.
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Just as importantly, the Cottagers’ win over Stoke took them to 12 goals in four games, ending a goal drought which had left them at the wrong end of the table.
Having initially struggled to replace Bobby Zamora’s goals after his broken leg in September, Fulham’s other forwards are starting to fire again.
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Clint Dempsey’s brace at the weekend took his tally to nine, and Andrew Johnson broke his duck at Wigan on January 15, which followed Diomansy Kamara’s hat-trick against the Posh in the third round of the cup.
There is a fresh wave of optimism around the Cottage – which is bad news for Spurs, as they make the trip across London for the fourth round on Sunday, in a replay of last season’s quarter-final.
“It’s a tough draw, Fulham’s always difficult and we always have difficult games with them,” said Harry Redknapp. “It was close again when we played them a few weeks ago.”
The verdict: Much will depend on the team that Redknapp picks, given that he rested key players in the third round against Charlton, and that Spurs go to Blackburn three days later.
However, the Tottenham boss will know that an overly-weakened side could well be eliminated by a rejuvenated Fulham, who are sure to field their best team.
Both sides will have high hopes for this competition and, while Spurs would prefer to avoid a replay given that they already have six games in February, the Lilywhites would be favourites to progress if, like last year, the tie goes back to the Lane.
Prediction: Fulham 1 Spurs 1