Fulham Focus – Speculation over Jol future continues to rise

He has generally looked an unhappy man all season long and following Fulham’s fifth straight league defeat, comfortably so at the hands of Liverpool last Sunday, the odds have tumbled and speculation has grown that Martin Jol is set to depart Craven Cottage at the end of the season, with Brighton manager Gus Poyet coming in to replace the Dutchman.

Such stories have never been far from the surface throughout the season. Since the departures of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, Jol has rarely looked a manager truly satisfied with life at Craven Cottage. Those key players were sold far too late in the transfer window for Jol to truly be able to reshape his team, though he still had time to bring in the excellent Dimitar Berbatov.

Then, in January, the Dutchman was not provided with the funds necessary to push through deals on the likes of Tom Huddlestone; instead the purse-strings only loosened to bring in a number of short-term loan signings, none of whom have really come off bar the temporary summer acquisition of Sascha Riether, which looks likely to be turned into a permanent deal no matter who the manager is next season.

Funds to strengthen the squad are key to Jol’s future. As mentioned previously, Fulham are an ageing team and one in desperate need of rejuvenation from the goalkeeper, to the defence, to the midfield and in attack. Indeed, Jol has spoken several times of the need to make moves in the summer market, to top up the squad number at the very least with a number of not only loanees returning to their parent clubs, but also out-of-contract players who look likely to depart.

However, perhaps what has really sparked the fever of speculation over the manager’s future is that at times this season, when his side have gone on a bad run, Jol has looked incapable of getting them out of it. How many times this season have we heard the Dutchman bemoaning his side’s misfortune, that the opposition keeper had made two or three good saves before the Cottagers were hit by a sucker-punch they failed to draw themselves up from the floor from?

Yes, Jol could understandably point to a creaking defence that certainly has not been replenished in recent years as reason for it but the 57-year-old can often cut a distracted, disinterested individual, both on the touchline and in post-match interviews, where defeats are very rarely greeted with anger and often even met with melancholic smiles.

The calls for Poyet then are no surprise. The Uruguayan is a young manager who on limited resources has managed to make Brighton into one of the most entertaining teams outside the top flight. With Jol’s fire at Craven Cottage seemingly dying out, is it perhaps time for the verve and passion of a new manager to take the helm for the 2013/14 campaign?

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Swansea v Fulham

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