From the sidelines

Wednesday 24 July 2002

He has yet to play a match this pre-season but Rufus Brevett has been making good progress in his pursuit of full fitness after tearing a groin muscle at the end of last season.

In Brevett's absence, Jon Harley has been ably deputising at leftback in a repeat situation of last season's opening game.

This means Brevett will not only have to regain full fitness but also dislodge Harley, a player who many believed would keep him out of the first team place upon his arrival at the Club last summer.

Rufus was present at Craven Cottage for the last match before Fulham temporarily move base to Loftus Road. Whilst not being too concerned with the performance, Rufus was clearly pleased with the result.

"It was a steady performance, we dominated the game, as you would expect," said Rufus. "They looked dangerous on the break but Edwin made a great save. It was a very pleasing result.

"Our fitness played a major part. We're going to get fitter as time goes on, so in that respect we looked very sharp in comparison to the Haka match.

"I think the lads would have been a little bit down had the match finished 0-0. But everyone's quite happy with the result."

Of course, Fulham still have to make the trip to Greece before they can even think about making plans for a possible match against Sochaux in the semi-final. And from his observations of the first leg, Brevett was under no illusions that the away leg will be a straightforward affair.

"They looked a very strong, physical side and they'll be even more so on their patch. We've got to look after ourselves but I think we can get the result. I don't know if I'm going to be ready for the away leg. I've not really done much ball work but I'm feeling fine, so you never know."