Martin Jol hopes Fulham can record an overdue win over Chelsea when the two sides meet at Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening (8pm).
The Whites have only defeated our SW6 rivals once since our promotion back to the top flight in 2001, but our Manager is optimistic that the elusive win craved by Fulham fans is not far away.
“In the last three league games and the Carling Cup game [against Chelsea], I think we could have beaten them three times,” Jol insisted. “Missed penalties and missed chances in the last couple of minutes [meant we didn’t], but it’s fair to say that they probably had the opportunity to win two as well at the end.
“Hopefully we can have a good result against them on Wednesday. We need a win against them. I’ve beaten Chelsea once and they were very strong then with Jose Mourinho, but we have taken four draws from them [in the last four matches] and that’s not great, but it’s not bad either, so hopefully we could get a result on Wednesday to change it.”
Much has been made of the Blues’ fixture congestion of late – the short trip to the Cottage will be their 60th match of the season – but Jol believes Rafael Benitez’s side have enough strength in depth to cope with the situation.
“Sometimes you feel if you’ve got the rhythm, then that gives you an advantage,” he explained. “We played, of course, on Saturday, we will play again on Wednesday, and then we play against Arsenal [this Saturday], so it’s about legs and it depends on who’s playing.
“If they play the same team then a problem could occur and, if not, I think they are big enough as a squad to play four or five different players, and I think they probably will.”
In addition to Steve Sidwell missing the clash as he sits out the final match of his suspension, another Chelsea old boy will be sidelined for the derby after suffering a knock against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Damien Duff lasted just 11 minutes in Birmingham and while Jol revealed that the injury was not as severe as initially feared, the winger is not likely to play any part in the week’s fixtures.
“Damien Duff is a bit better than we thought,” the Dutchman admitted. “He won’t be available [on Wednesday] and I don’t think he will be available against Arsenal, but things look better than we thought.
“In other team news, Ashkan Dejagah had his surgery and he will be out until June or July – the surgery went well. Eyong Enoh had a little problem with his right ankle but he is fine and, of course, Mahamadou Diarra is out.”
Tickets are on General Sale for Wednesday’s SW6 derby with Chelsea and are available to purchase online, or by visiting or calling the Ticket Office on 0843 208 1234 (Option 1).