The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 27 October 2015 13:00

What a comeback that was against Reading on Saturday. My pal Tony Cottee was at the game covering it for Sky and he said that he was fearing the worst for Fulham. But we turned the game on its head, and that’s what we needed, a spark like that – and we got it, which was brilliant.

I can’t recall us scoring three goals in six minutes before. I remember when I was playing, we were 3-0 down at Birmingham in the first game of the season and we won 4-3. Gordon Davies got a hat-trick, but I don’t think we scored the goals as quickly as the lads did on Saturday. It’s weird sometimes how you can be struggling to create and take chances, and then all of a sudden, bang, it happens.

We’re four games unbeaten now and although some of those draws were disappointing, at least we’re proving difficult to beat. Those were a tough run of fixtures, too. For Leeds it was obviously their first game since Steve Evans had taken over as the new manager so there was always going to be a reaction from them. I thought really we were second best in that game and that Leeds had the better of us, so in the end it wasn’t a bad point because when a team has been on the front foot against you, if you can nick a draw than that’s always good. Before that the Boro result was a terrific one, and I still think Reading will be right up there come the end of the season, so that’s a great result too. It's especially nice that the Owner got to see some positive results while he was in town.

Moussa Dembélé was the man of the moment last week with three goals, and I’ve been impressed by him lately – I’m seeing signs of the kid becoming a man. We’d heard such a lot about him playing for our youth teams, but it’s really difficult when you come up to the First Team. You can see he’s built up his upper body with the goal he scored against Leeds, the way he drifted inside and then outside a couple of defenders with that little bit of strength. He’s going to have times when he doesn’t put them away in front of goal and maybe his touch isn’t the best, but don’t have a go at this kid, I think he’s going to be good.

You’ve got to remember he only turned 19-years-old this year, so it’s a hard job to be leading the line at his age. I remember Dean Coney at Fulham all those years ago, and when he had an off spell sometimes the crowd got on his back a little bit. I just thought that they needed to give him a break, because there is going to be times when your form dips. But for me, with the promise that Moussa has shown and the strength that he’s gained by playing senior football, the kid’s going to be a player.

We’re on the road this weekend at Bristol City, and I think it will be a difficult away day. I saw them on telly last night against Cardiff and they probably shaded it against a team that you think could be up there in the Play-Off spots at the end of the season, so Bristol City have improved. Steve Cotterill knew that it was going to be difficult having got promoted, and so it proved as they had a tough start. But he said that they’ve been playing the same throughout without getting the points that their play warranted, so we don’t want it to be us who are the fall guys on Saturday, but this is a tough game. It’s a club with a great catchment area and a great fanbase. I think Steve’s an infectious manager, he’s got a lot of energy and if you were building a club up like they are, he’s perfect, and he’s the perfect fit for Bristol.

There’s another away match a couple of days later when we face Burnley – a side who are doing very well. They’re okay because they managed to, with the exception of Danny Ings, keep their squad together from the Premier League. They’re another team with a good manager in Sean Dyche who leads from the front. They were excellent in the Premier League last year – obviously they came down but I thought the points they got on the table was a good total because they didn’t really go into the transfer market with any force, like the others did. The club was run on a budget that ensured, should they come down, they’d be fine. They’re a well-run club, a good team, and they’ll be up there.

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