A Good Challenge

Friday 7 February 2014 09:30

John Heitinga is itching to make his Fulham debut when the Whites head to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Sunday (4pm).

The Netherlands international joined Fulham in the final hours of the January transfer window from Everton and was therefore ineligible to feature in last weekend’s 3-0 home loss to Southampton.

Introduced to the Fulham faithful beforehand, Heitinga watched on as the Whites dominated the first half, only to concede three goals in quick succession in the second 45 to fall to defeat.

The result saw Fulham slip to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table, but Heitinga has seen enough in his short time in SW6 to suggest his new side can get out of trouble.

“The spirit in the squad is good,” Heitinga told the official website. “I knew Maarten Stekelenburg beforehand from the national team and the other boys have welcomed me into the group.

“They’re professionals and good players. We know exactly what we need to do to get out of this situation. It’s a top club and we have the quality to be higher up the table than we are.”

With 14 games remaining, Fulham Head Coach René Meulensteen believes at least six wins will be required in order for the Whites to survive.

And centre-back Heitinga, who can also play in midfield, is eyeing the start of that run against the Red Devils, a side who have suffered a mixed campaign of their own under new boss David Moyes.

The 30-year-old had made just five appearances for Everton this season and is understandably keen to feature when the Whites run out against Moyes’ men.

“Hopefully I’ll make my debut on Sunday,” said Heitinga. “It will be a good challenge but a tough game away from home. United haven’t been as dominant at home this season as they have in the past, we need to get some points and we’re aiming to start on Sunday. If I can help play a part, then that will be good.”