Fulham must target top seven

Monday 29th July 2013 14:35

Martin Jol: Fulham boss desperate for new striker

Martin Jol: Fulham boss desperate for new striker

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Fulham FanZoner Henry Walmsley believes a top-seven finish is achievable for the Cottagers should Martin Jol manage to sign another striker.

How has your pre-season gone?

I think our pre season has gone pretty well so far, with three wins from three in Costa Rica, followed by a poor 1-0 defeat at the hands of Werder Bremen.

It's good to see us looking to increase our global fan base too, and cash in on Bryan Ruiz's stardom status in his home country. It's all part of taking Fulham to the 'next level' as Shahid Khan put it.

A player who has been really impressive so far is Patjim Kasami, which is excellent as he's clearly got huge potential, but has struggled to find his feet in his first two years at the Cottage.

Are you happy with how things have shaped up in terms of transfers - both in and out?

The jury is still out in terms of transfers so far. Martin Jol made some very astute free trasfers early on, such as Fernando Amorebieta, but we're yet to see any big transfers.

An £8million deal seems to be in the pipeline for Roma striker Pablo Osvaldo, which is quite exciting, and I've also heard menioned the name of Walter Gargano, who I think would be an excellent signing.

We'll have to wait and see as we're a club which traditionally does most of our big business late.

Is your current manager the right man for the job?

It's a tricky one, but I stand by what I said a few weeks ago, that I'd like to see a young manager with fresh ideas who still needs to make a name for himself in charge.

Someone like Mauricio Pochettino, Michael Laudrup or Roberto Martinez. Having said that, Jol is a well-respected manager, who has the power to bring in big players, like Dimitar Berbatov and Maarten Stekelenburg, so I'm not unhappy with him in charge.

Dare to dream - if everything clicked into place what's the best you could hope for?

Khan brings in some massive signings, Craven Cottage becomes a fortress again, and we finish fifth like Newcastle did a couple of seasons ago, ahead of Chelsea.

Newcastle showed that it can be done, and Everton were very close last year, so stranger things have happened. Will it happen? No, probably not.

Back to reality - what are your realistic expectations for the new campaign?

Top 10. I'm getting bored of saying it. According to 99.9% of pundits that's a good season for us, but for me that's standard, while anything below is disappointing.

I'd like to see us pushing for seventh or eighth because it's definitely achievable.

Perhaps the most important thing is that we don't do a QPR with the new money we have. I'm sure we won't - Khan spoke of sustainability when he took over, and Jol is a sensible man - but it's always a nagging doubt having seen what's happened to Blackburn and QPR.

Who will visiting scouts be keeping an eye on this season?

Who will they be looking out for? Berbatov. Who should they be looking out for? Kacaniklic. Everyone knows how good Berbatov is, and he's the only player who ever seems to get mentioned by opposition managers. Kaca on the other hand is a player who can really terrorise defences, but if played against well can be pretty quiet, so they should be watching him!

If you had to pick one player who'd be fit for every minute of every game, who would it be?

If we don't bring in another striker then I'd have to say Berbatov because our only other strike option is Hugo Rodallega, who is very hit and miss (literally).

There's no way, though, that Jol won't bring in another striker so I'll say Brede Hangeland.

The reason for this is that if Brede gets injured then in all likelihood it will be Philippe Senderos partnering Amorebieta in defence which is a recipe for disaster.

I'm not a fan of Senderos; for all his good attributes he makes far too many mistakes, and that's what defenders and goalkeepers are judged on.

On the flip side (without being cruel!), who is the player with most to prove?

Kerim Frei had a disappointing season last year, after bursting onto the scene the season before. A couple of injuries as well as an unsuccessful loan spell at Cardiff meant first team appearances were few and far between.

He showed in his first season what an exciting player he is, including a man-of-the-match display against Chelsea, and I hope rumours about him moving back to Turkey aren't true, as we need players like him at the club.

If you could sign any one player from any other side in the same division who would you plump for?

I'm going to be relatively realistic here and say Yohan Cabaye. I watched quite a lot of him last year and in my eyes he's one of the best centre midfielders in the league.

His crossing is exquisite, and he's always looking to receive the ball, something we've really missed since Danny Murphy left. The chances of us signing him, though, are slim to zero, so I hope we're able to find another Cabaye in the depths of European football!

If you only win one game all season who would you take three points from?

Chelsea. The last two seasons I've said QPR, but with them back in the Championship it's business as usual, and we can refocus our attention back to Chelsea.

We've only beaten them once in our time in the Premier League, and that was met by a pitch invasion, so you can see how much it means to Fulham fans.

The great thing about supporting a team like Fulham, though, is you appreciate every win. No games are taken for granted, and going to an away game which we win is something to tell the grandchildren about!

You can follow Henry on Twitter at @henrywalmsley - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.



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