Fulham Focus – Cottagers stall again as poor run continues

Fulham fans travelled home from Craven Cottage disappointed once again as their team continued their alarming mid-season slump by only managing to take a point at home to Wigan. What’s worse is that frankly, the Latics were more than deserving of a point and had Franco Di Santo been sharper, or had Arouna Kone not been away at the Africa Cup of Nations, then Roberto Martinez’ men could well have been heading back to the North West with all three.

Martin Jol would surely have been earmarking all three points from Saturday’s fixture. Indeed, given Fulham’s usual superiority at home and Wigan’s league position of 18th, added to the fact that the Cottagers were coming off the back of a morale-boosting away victory at West Brom, the home side were expected to take the game to their lowly opponents and particularly through Dimitar Berbatov, give the injury-hit Latics’ backline a testing 90 minutes.

However, after veteran Giorgos Karagounis had put Fulham ahead in the opening stages with another long-range rasper to add to his stunning volley against Blackpool in the FA Cup last week, Wigan proceeded to take the game to the hosts. By the time Di Santo levelled it up with a wonderful strike in the second half, they had already gone close on several occasions. Yes, Maynor Figueroa may have produced a miraculous goal-line clearance in stoppage time to prevent Bryan Ruiz from giving Fulham all three points but really, if there was to be a winner from this game, it should not have been Jol’s team.

Currently lying six points above the drop zone, the Dutchman admitted after the match that he was keen to strengthen a squad that has begun to look rather stale of late, despite the continued ingenuity of Berbatov. Funds are as tight as ever at Craven Cottage and Jol has already admitted that he needs to be creative in the transfer market if he is to find the gems to re-invigorate Fulham’s season.

Chris David from FC Twente is a start but at the age of only 19, is clearly one for the future and not the present. Similarly, Simon Davies is said to be close to a comeback after a horror show with injuries but with all due respect to the Welshman, the Cottagers would do well not to pin their hopes on a 33-year-old who made only seven appearances in all competition last season and has made none so far this term.

Next comes the FA Cup replay with manager-less Blackpool in midweek and an opportunity for Fulham to put together a decent cup run or at the very least, put themselves in with a shot of a bumper fourth round tie at Manchester United and a return to Old Trafford for Berbatov, where you would not back against the Bulgarian making an impression.

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