Whites v Rovers

Friday 8 February 2002

Fulham midfielder Sean Davis is fit again after suffering a broken nose and is expected to be in the squad. But Lee Clark is still out with an Achilles problem and Luis Boa Morte could miss out again with his ankle problem. Rufus Brevett could return after suspension.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Brevett, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Collins, Legwinski, Knight, Malbranque, Taylor, Marlet, Saha, Hayles, Boa Morte, Davis, Harley.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

The Premiership's draw specialists Fulham, face a first ever Premiership meeting with a Blackburn side, who stand above the relegation zone on goal difference only.

Rovers have lost nine of their last eleven Premiership games, including the last three in succession and are seeking only their second top division victory over Fulham since the fixture was first contested in 1936.

Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham have all taken maximum points off Graeme Souness's side in their most recent League outings.. A further defeat here would equal their four match losing run between 7 and 29 November, 1998 when they lost successively to Coventry, Manchester United, Southampton and Liverpool, scoring three goals and conceding ten. They were relegated from the Premier League that season.

Fulham recorded their sixth goalless League draw of the season when they held Aston Villa at Craven Cottage last Saturday. With 23 goals conceded in 24 League games, Jean Tigana's side boast the tightest defence in the top flight.

It will be interesting to see if they can maintain a similar record when they contest their home games in the tight surroundings at Loftus Road. Fulham confirmed this week that they will be ground sharing with Queen's Park Rangers while redevelopment work is carried out at Craven Cottage.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

Total 63: Fulham wins 20, Blackburn wins 24, Draws 19

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

This is the first ever meeting of Fulham and Blackburn in the Premiership.

Fulham are unbeaten in four home League matches against Rovers (2 wins, 2 draws).

Blackburn's only win in six League visits to Craven Cottage over ten years, was 0-1 in the old Division Two on 26 November, 1983.

It's over 43 years since Rovers last and only top flight victory at Fulham. That was 0-1 on 19 December, 1959 in the old League - Division One.

The Cottagers did the 'double' last season when the sides met in the Nationwide League - Division One.
FULHAM

Current League position
10th 32 points
10 points outside the top six

Best Scenario at final whistle
Up 2 to 8th
If win, and Tottenham [home to Leicester] do no better than draw.

Worst Scenario at final whistle
Down 3 to 13th
If lose, while West Ham [away to Bolton], Ipswich [home to Liverpool] and Southampton [away to Newcastle] all win.

Sequences

NOT WON IN 2 - both Prem [1 draw, 1 loss]

3 WITHOUT VICTORY IN THE PREMIERSHIP [2 draws, 1 defeat]

2 SINCE DEFEAT IN HOME LEAGUE GAMES [1 win, 1 draw]

NOT SCORED IN 2 [185 mins / 3 hrs 5 mis]

Recent Form

3 wins in last 6 League and Cup games

Won 2 of last 9 Premiership matches

Drawn 2 of last 4 in all competitions

5 draws in last 11 top flight encounters

Lost 1 of last 8

3 defeats in last 16 top division duels

Failed to score in 2 of last 9 contests

Failed to find the net in 2 in last 6 League clashes

5 clean sheets in last 10

Managed 7 clean sheets in last 12 top tier League outings

13 CLEAN SHEETS - 11 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 10 TIMES - all in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 1

2 RED CARDS - both in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 2
Steve Finnan
Steed Malbrangue

STARTED EVERY GAME: 1
Steve Finnan

Potential Career Milestones

If he plays, Bjarne GOLDBAEK will be making his 100th appearance in the English League

COTTAGERS NOTES

Last Premiership win was 2-1 at home to Middlesbrough on 12 January, 2001
Last Premiership defeat was 2-3 at home to Manchester United on 30 December, 2001.
Drawn most matches in the Premiership this season - 11.
Conceded fewest Premiership goals - 23. That's an average of one every 94 minutes.
Completed most clean sheets at the highest League level - 11.
Drawn most home top flight games - 6.

One of six clubs to have lost just two home top League games. The others are Liverpool, Chelsea, Leeds, Aston Villa and West Ham.

Notched more goalless draws than any other club in the top flight this season - 6.

Used 21 players in Premiership matches this season - the same number as Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds - but no other clubs have used fewer.

Caught offside 48 times and committed 280 fouls in Premiership matches this season - that's fewer than any other club on both counts, according to the FA Barclaycard information sheet.

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Current League position
17th 25 points
Above the Premiership safety net on goal difference only

Best Scenario at final whistle

Up 3 to 14th
If win, while Middlesbrough [home to Leeds] and Sunderland [away to Derby] both lose.

Worst realistic scenario at final whistle
Down 1 to 18th

If lose, while Bolton [home to West Ham] at least draw. (Blackburn would drop 2 to 19th, if Derby [home to Sunderland] also win with an improbable 22 goal swing.)

Sequences

LOST LAST 2 - both PREM

LOST LAST 3 PREMIERSHIP GAMES

GONE 8 SINCE A DRAW

GONE 11 SINCE A PREMIER LEAGUE DRAW

GONE 7 SINCE A CLEAN SHEET IN THE LEAGUE

Recent Form

5 wins in last 8 League and Cup games

Won 1 of last 7 Premiership matches

Drawn 1 of last 18 in all competitions

Lost 2 of last 5

6 defeats in last 7 top division duels

Failed to find the net in 1 of the last 9 games

Not scored in 4 of the last 7 League clashes

1 clean sheet in last 12

Managed 1 clean sheet in last 11 top tier League outings

8 CLEAN SHEETS - 4 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 9 TIMES - all in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 1

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 2

4 RED CARDS - 2 in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 0

Potential Career Milestones

If he plays, Martin TAYLOR will be making the 50th League appearance of his career

ROVERS NOTES

Lost the last three Premiership matches against Manchester U (2-1, away, 19 Jan), Arsenal (2-3, home, 30 Jan) and West Ham (2-0, away, 2 Feb).

Last Premiership win was 4-1 at home to Charlton on 12 January, 2002.

Last away Premiership win was 0-2 against Charlton on 22 December, 2001.

Managed fewest clean sheets at the highest League level so far this season - 4.

Hold the top score in a Premiership match - 7 goals.

Involved in one of the three highest scoring Premier League matches this season. Eight goals were registered in Blackburn's 7-1 win over West Ham at Ewood Park on 14 October.

Two off the foot of the Premiership's "Last 6 Current Form" table with 3 points from the 18 - one more point that Leicester and Sunderland.

Conceded the opening goal more often than any other club in top division games - 16.
Should Rovers let in one goal, they will then have conceded 350 in the Premier League.