Striker shortage

Monday 21 January 2002

From This is London

Fulham face a striker shortage at Craven Cottage after Luis Boa Morte was carried off in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

Physio Jason Palmer will decide today whether the Portuguese international needs a scan on his injured ankle, and the results could be crucial to Fulham's season.

Manager Jean Tigana already has Louis Saha out with a broken nose and joked: "I may have to make a come-back myself !"

Fulham face York City in the FA Cup next weekend. At present, Steve Marlet - only recently returned from a fractured knee - is the only fit first team striker at the club, although Palmer is hopeful that Boa Morte's injury may not be as bad as feared.

He said: "Luis was in a lot of pain but thankfully his specially-moulded shinpads took a lot of the impact.

"He has some ligament damage, as well as bruising to the soft tissue and the bone in the area, but hopefully it will settle down quickly with some early treatment and rest."

The one consolation for Fulham is that while their strikers struggle to score goals, midfielder Steed Malbranque has no such problems.

He scored his sixth of the season at the Stadium of Light, adding to the 22-year-old's growing reputation since his £5million arrival from Lyon.