Martin Jol welcomes Brede Hangeland back to his matchday squad for Monday’s (8pm) showdown with Newcastle United at the Cottage, admitting he is delighted to have his Captain available once more.
“He brings consistency to the side,” Jol explained. “He plays all the games; I can’t remember him being injured so he’s always there and he’s always available.
“I remember last season when we played the qualification matches [for the UEFA Europa League] and I told Brede that maybe it’s better to rest him but he didn’t want to do that and we played so many games before we even started the league.
“He wanted to play all these games so he’s a very good professional and I think he’s brought a lot to this Club. He’s also an easy person to get on with and he’s a perfect pro.”
Fulham’s back four had been relatively unchanged throughout the season but the Whites may be without Sascha Riether on Monday after the German picked up a knee injury against Tottenham Hotspur.
The right-back has been a revelation since his loan switch from FC Cologne but Jol insists that if he doesn’t recover in time for the visit of the Magpies, he will have no qualms about starting Stephen Kelly.
“I spoke to Stephen about the situation at the start of the season,” he said. “He really thought he did well [last season] and I have to admit that he was right.
“Sascha has gone from strength to strength and got better and better but Stephen has worked hard too and kept quiet. The only disadvantage is that when he comes in he lacks a bit of rhythm. But he is fit even though he has not played a lot of games over the last three or four months.”