Fulham Focus – Jol departure rumours sum up worrying time at Craven Cottage

After the disappointment of Fulham’s 1-1 draw at home to Wigan last weekend, this week had actually seen some positive signs for the Cottagers after a difficult run of form. However, rumours that Martin Jol could be on his way out of Craven Cottage have added to the worrying times in southwest London.

Fulham did flirt with disaster during their FA Cup third round replay at Blackpool in midweek. However Kieran Richardson’s last-minute equaliser, followed by skipper Brede Hangeland’s winner in extra-time helped take Fulham into a fourth round tie with Manchester United. Furthermore, rumours abounded that Yann M’Vila, the French midfielder who only a year ago was on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, could be set to snub a move to QPR in favour of joining Jol’s men.

Then goal.com reported on Thursday morning that Jol, who has been in charge at Craven Cottage since the summer of 2011, could be about to leave the club. The Dutchman would not be the first manager to leave the Fulham hot seat citing differences with the board over its’ future ambitions and transfer targets. Mark Hughes famously departed under similar circumstances.

However, Jol has certainly not looked an entirely happy man since the departures of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey towards the end of the summer transfer window and in recent weeks as his side’s form has plummeted, the 57-year-old has cut a very frustrated figure. Very quickly, reports began to emerge from departed Fulham players of Jol’s unpopularity on the training ground. Although these should of course be mostly viewed with a pinch of salt, they do also ring true with statements made in particular by Bobby Zamora after the forward departed for QPR last January.

Were Jol to leave his post, it would bring a sad end to what had until very recently looked a hugely promising season for Fulham. The signing of Dimitar Berbatov has captured the imagination at Craven Cottage, and despite the departures of Dembele and Dempsey, Fulham impressed everyone in their 3-3 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates in November to leave them in the top half of the table.

Since then however, the Cottagers have simply fallen apart both up front – in spite of Berbatov – and at the back, where speculation continues over the future of Hangeland, who himself has struggled for form at times this season. A trip to champions Manchester City this weekend will hardly see an improvement in this regard. If Jol does extend his stay at the Cottage, then new signings are a must. This is particularly the case in midfield where as well as lacking defensive fortitude, Fulham are also currently deprived of a creative spark to assist the efforts of Berbatov.

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