Manolev's Challenge

Friday 22 February 2013 09:36

Stanislav Manolev knows he has a battle on to keep his First Team spot when Fulham host Stoke City on Saturday (12.45pm).

The Bulgaria international, signed on loan from PSV Eindhoven on the final day of the January transfer window, made his Fulham bow as the Whites drew 0-0 at Norwich City last time out to keep their first clean sheet in 15 games.

It wasn’t a conventional debut either, with the right-back having to jump in a taxi from London to Norfolk the evening before the match after Sascha Riether had been taken ill.

Up until then, Riether had been an ever-present for the Whites this season and, with the German now fighting fit again, Martin Jol has a decision to make when it comes to his starting XI for the televised date with the Potters.

“It was a bit of a surprise for me but I was very pleased to play my first game,” Manolev told the official website. “I had only been with the squad for just over a week but I had worked hard in training and my fitness levels were good.

“It was good that I could help the Club keep their first clean sheet for 15 games; that is pleasing. Now I have to wait to see if I can keep my place. Sascha Riether has done well this season and the Manager must decide who will play there. This is the choice for the Manager. If he elects me to play, then great.”

Capped 29 times for Bulgaria, Manolev admits he has been helped to settle in to his new surroundings by a fellow countryman and familiar face.

“Dimitar Berbatov has been very nice,” said Manolev. “It’s good to see a friendly face when you join a new side and we have played in the international team together.

“I’m enjoying it here. It’s a good Club, with good people. Every day I’m getting better and better.”

Tickets for Saturday's game are now limited, with only a few remaining. Supporters are advised to buy their tickets now in order to avoid missing out.

Tickets are still available to buy in the Hammersmith End and the neutral Putney End from £35 for adults and £15 for juniors.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Ticket Office on 0843 208 1234 (Option 1).