Boss out to end 45-year wait for league win on Cottagers soil
STEVE Clarke expects to face a Fulham side full of players with a point to prove in tomorrow’s Craven Cottage clash (ko 3pm). The London outfit snapped up Dimitar Berbatov on transfer deadline day and the former Manchester United striker could make his home debut against the Baggies.
Martin Jol’s other summer recruits, such as Hugo Rodallega, will also be eager to get back on track after suffering successive away defeats at Manchester United and West Ham, following their opening-day 5-0 win over Norwich.
“Fulham have made a couple of changes over the course of the transfer window,” said Clarke.
“There will be some players making home debuts - Dimitar Berbatov is one.
“And him and people like Hugo Rodallega will be there with a point to prove.”
He added: “Dimitar’s the type of player who, as an opposition coach, I am always wary about being on the pitch. “Even if he looks as if he is out of the game, he still has the ability to turn a game on his own - and that’s the mark of a top quality player."
The Cottagers currently lie 11th in the table, with the Baggies eight places and four points above them on the back of a three-game unbeaten league run.
And although Albion have not won on Fulham soil in the league for 45 years, Clarke insists that beating the likes of Liverpool and Everton, and picking up a point at Spurs in between, has raised the expectation levels on his players. “In their one and only home game so far this season, Fulham beat Norwich 5-0 so we’re under no illusions it’s going to be a very difficult game," he insisted.
“Fulham is a difficult place to go.
“I don’t think our record there in recent years is very good. “So, that’s another pressure. We have to go there with a little bit more expectation than people had in the first three games.
“We have to deal with that and we still have to perform the way we’ve performed.”