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Fulham preview

A quick opportunity then to put the derby defeat behind us and get back on track.

There has been a huge media focus on us in recent times, mainly for non-footballing issues it has to be said, so it would be nice to focus solely on on-pitch matters and this competition does offer us the best opportunity to land a trophy.

Fulham are a useful side though and for me, Roy Hodgson doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for the turnaround he has presided over at Craven Cottage since he replaced Lawrie Sanchez. Perhaps as a result of our insular Premier League view, we don't measure the success he has achieved in a variety of positions abroad to the same degree we should do.

Fulham had a successful 2008/09 campaign and as a result of this we may have an easier task on our hands should they sit out a large chunk of their strongest eleven - although they did field an under-strength side in the Europa League opener so maybe the Carling Cup will be treated with some importance. They have also fared relatively well against us in recent times and it certainly isn't a game we can look past.

Team wise, maybe Hughes will make changes, although maybe he won't given the side that was fielded at Crystal Palace. Injuries and suspension will force his hand in one or two areas though and I'd like him to take the opportunity to give some of those fringe players a run out. He has already hinted that Martin Petrov could get a start, especially so given that Carlos Tevez may not be risked twice in quick succession.

Defensively, Pablo Zabaleta must be hoping for an opportunity and I would sit out Richards for this game. Valdimir Weiss, Javier Garrido and Sylvinho may also be set to see some action.

Despite the setback at United, I am confident of a victory tomorrow despite the probably lack of weapons in attack. We may make heavy going of it at times but I'll take us to progess with a 2-1 victory.