The boys were looking really good in Cardiff on Sunday and definitely deserved to win by more than a solitary goal. To go to another Championship side and have 70-plus per cent possession and all the chances is quite some feat. That’s really promising but it’s consistent with most of our away form to be honest. We seem to thrive on our travels this season and the boys are relishing it. We’re at home in the next round, though, when Hull visit the Cottage at the end of the month. It’ll be good to have another Premier League team come to SW6. Hopefully the fans can pack the ground out and make it a great atmosphere. It’s a fixture that we’ll go into believing we can win as they’re not having the greatest of times at the moment. It would be great to progress into the next round of the FA Cup because it’s not that often that we have a good cup run.
Slaviša went with wing-backs on Sunday, and it was a formation which suited us well because we don’t really have wingers, in the natural sense. The lads we normally play there like to cut inside, but two players who like to beat a full-back down the outside and get a ball in are the two Ryans; Fredericks and Sessegnon. Playing them further forward suited them, they’re both very athletic, they’re both very quick. You have to take your hat off to Sessegnon, he seems like he’s got an old head on young shoulders. Hopefully his feet are on the ground, but I’m sure they are as he seems a very level headed lad. I’ve met his dad and his brother and the family seem very grounded so they’re not going to get carried away. But what a prospect we’ve got on our hands there.
We’re back to league matters on Saturday when Barnsley come to town. They’ve surprised a few people this season and are on a great run of form so it’s going to be a tough game. They’re quite a young side who are up there and playing well, scoring goals, but we’re at home and if we’ve got any aspirations of getting into the Play-Offs we need to win games like this. We need to win most of our home games to be honest, as we can’t be relying on our great away form come the end of the season. We have so much possession of the ball, it’s just important that we keep the concentration levels up. Teams come to the Cottage and just try and hit us on the counter attack, so it’s all about not making silly errors. But we’re playing at close to the top of our game so I think it will be a cracking match, but one that I expect us to win.
The last time Barnsley came to the Cottage was a very enjoyable afternoon indeed as we won 5-1 back in our promotion season. I think it was on a sunny Sunday, live on Sky. Louis Saha scored a first-half hat-trick, but I was Man of the Match, ask Barry Hayles! We were cruising early doors, it was just one of those games where we were sensational. We kept the ball well and had good combinations all over the pitch. Finnan and Goldbaek on the right-hand side just knew what each other were going to do. Louis, Boa and Bazza up front caused all sorts of problem, and Clarky often found himself at the top of the diamond, which meant whenever I got the ball he was always available. He always seemed to have time and space on the ball, and that’s the sign of a good player. But all over the pitch we had a lot of quality – Fabrice Fernandes played well that game I seem to remember, too.
You might have seen on the website that I’ve signed up for the Craven Cottage 10K again this year. It’s always a good laugh and with all proceeds going to the Foundation, your participation will help fund loads of important projects.
Happy New Year to everyone – hopefully it will be a successful one for Fulham which sees us reach the Play-Offs and head to Wembley!