Fulham’s Reserve Team is in action on Monday evening as they face Portsmouth for the first game of the 2008/09 season at Motspur Park.
The disproportionate number of northern clubs in the Premier League this season means that the Southern Section will consist of just nine clubs and play a total of 16 League matches. The Southern section lost Birmingham, Derby and Reading through relegation whilst gaining two clubs in Stoke and West Bromwich Albion.
The Development Squad therefore face three trips to the Midlands including both of the next two fixtures.
On Monday September 15 we face West Bromwich at the Hawthorns and on Wednesday October 1 travel to the Britannia Stadium to meet Stoke. Supporters intending to travel should always check the venue before travelling as games can be switched at short notice.
Last season our Development Squad finished in fifth place with Wayne Brown leading scorer on five goals. Aston Villa, our final visitors last season won the League but were unsuccessful in the Play-Off against Northern champions Liverpool losing 3-0 at Anfield. Our final game of last season saw us lose 1-0 to Pompey at Fratton Park courtesy of a late Daniel Subotic goal. Earlier in the campaign the Whites had beaten Portsmouth 3-0 at Motspur Park with goals from Wayne Brown (2) and Lino Goncalves.
The Development Squad had an impressive pre-season beginning with a 3-1 win at Walton Casuals in mid-July. Another three goals were chalked up at Banstead with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge keeping a clean sheet before an impressive 8-0 victory at Kingstonian on August 1. The only defeat came at Staines who won 2-0 on a night where the Club were also involved in First Team action at Southend.
Amongst those who featured in the Development Squad last season whom are no longer with the club are goalkeepers Corrin Brooks-Meade and Ricardo Batista along with striker Ismael Ehui.
Left back Nathan Ashton has joined Wycombe whilst Elliot Omozusi is on a season-long loan at Norwich City. Other current loans include TJ Moncur at Bradford, Lee Cook at QPR and Eddie Johnson at Cardiff.
Adrian Leijer, a regular in central defence last season has had a different pre-season having been selected to play for Australia at the Beijing Olympics.
Tonight’s opponents Portsmouth feature a number of up and coming players in their Development Squad. Pompey twice scored four times in pre-season winning 4-0 at Havant and 4-1 against neighbours Gosport Borough. Academy striker Matthew Ritchie scored a hat-trick at Gosport where the starting line-up included former Arsenal defender Lauren and Nigerian international John Utaka and second choice goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.