Fulham v Monaco

Friday 31 August 2001

With a break in Premiership fixtures this Saturday, Fulham take on French side Monaco at Craven Cottage, in a friendly match designed to keep Jean Tigana's side ticking over until normal Premiership service is resumed.

Once a fantasy fixture for Fulham, the Whites are now able to play sides like Monaco in a casual encounter, such as Saturday's.

Fulham will be without record signing Steve Marlet who joins up with the French national team in Santiago as the World Champions take on Chile.

Other absentees will be Bjarne Goldbaek, Edwin van der Sar, Steve Finnan, Maik Taylor, Sean Davis, Andy Melville, Kit Symons and Barry Hayles who are all on international duty for their respective countries.

Monaco have made a slow start to their season, having lost four of their first five games under new manager and former Chelsea player Didier Deschamps. However, whilst results haven't been going Monaco's way of late, there are few people who could question the quality of their squad.

Monaco have recently signed Oliver Bierhoff from AC Milan, a player who the media heavily linked with a move to Fulham. However, the striker has been called up to the German national squad to face England on Saturday and will miss the match. Nonetheless, another big-name player, Florin Raducioiu, is in line to fill Bierhoff's place in attack.

Lining up alongside Raducioiu is Italian hitman Marco Simone, yet another player who is capable of turning a match with a single flash of brilliance.

Fulham's former Monaco, midfielder John Collins was looking ahead to the match against his old side. Speaking to Fulham Today, Collins told of his time with the French side:

"I've got some great memories of the club. I had two fantastic years in Monaco, on the pitch where I won the French Championship, got to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and Champions League. And off the pitch, where I had a fantastic lifestyle.

"My wife and kids enjoyed it, we learned French and made lots of nice friends. I've got nothing but fond memories of my time with Monaco"

Looking ahead to the match, Collins was careful to point out that the French side's disappointing league start could well work against Fulham's favour.

Deschamps will, no doubt see this match as an ideal opportunity to re-establish his methods and bring about a reversal in Monaco's early-season fortunes:

"They'll have a few players away on international duty, but the they'll still bring a strong team. They'll need to get some rhythm and get their team pattern arranged so this will be an important game for them."

With Fulham's international call-ups taking a more considerable toll on their starting eleven, the match will give some of the lesser-utilised players in the squad the chance to issue a reminder to Tigana of their abilities against top-class opposition.

Supporters are reminded that ONLY the Riverside stand will be in use for this match, kick off is at 3pm.

Prices: £10 Adults - £5 Concessions. Pay at the gate...