Philippe's Chance

Saturday 24 November 2012 09:00

Fulham Manager Martin Jol hopes that Philippe Senderos can step up to the plate if he replaces Brede Hangeland in the starting line-up for our next three matches.

Our Captain is suspended for our trio of games against Stoke City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur after his red card last weekend, with Senderos making his first appearance of the season when he slotted in at centre-back after replacing Giorgos Karagounis.

“He’s not had a lot of injuries but he’d been out for a long time so that was a problem,” Jol explained. “But he’s played a few games [since his injury] – he played 90 minutes and 45 minutes in the Reserves so hopefully he is ready.”

Injuries and the reliability of the partnership between Hangeland and Aaron Hughes have so far limited Philippe’s game time in SW6 since joining the Club in the summer of 2010. He’s made just 31 appearances for the Whites to date, but Jol is optimistic that the former Arsenal and AC Milan defender can fill our Captain’s boots.

“He came here but Aaron and Brede are a very good pair,” the Fulham boss admitted. “They play well together and have been successful so it was not easy for him to get into the Team.

“Last year I put him in and he played and he played well, but then he was injured again and Aaron came back and we did ever so well after Christmas. So it was not easy for Phil to be a regular.

“And of course we started the pre-season and he was injured for months. So hopefully he’s fit now and he can show what he’s capable of.

“Maybe the Stoke game is a great opportunity for him because he’s quite a battler and I think he’s one of these defenders who could do well against them.”

Hangeland’s absence on Saturday also throws up the question as to who will lead the side out at the Britannia. Dimitar Berbatov took the armband off the Norwegian against Sunderland, while Hughes has skippered the Whites on numerous occasions in the past and Jol admitted it’s something he still needs to consider.

“That’s another thing,” he mused. “I will talk to the players first and then I will come up with a very nice Captain.”

And while Fulham have won plaudits this season for our resilience on the road, Jol is not entirely happy with our total points tally.

“It’s still not great,” he said. “We’ve only taken one point from when we played Reading, Southampton and Arsenal.

“But if you look at the past, these are games that we would have lost probably, so it was good to have these draws and hopefully we can turn these games into wins because that is what we have lacked. We had one win against Aston Villa, a few draws and then we lost our last game so we could have been in a better position.”