Early Doors

Your first look at the rumour, innuendo, injuries and team news ahead of tomorrow's pre-match press conferences.

Zola closes on Chamakh
Meanwhile, left-back Herita Ilunga's facial injury means he is rated as doubtful to face Tottenham on Sunday in the Barclays Premier League clash at Upton Park. Jonathan Spector is a likely replacement but Fabio Daprela, the Switzerland Under-19 international, impressed in a behind-closed-doors practice match against Watford.
It will be great to have another budget striker in the game, and certainly the buzz has been good on Chamakh since Wenger was sniffing around him. But in the immediate term, Spector becomes an option in defence.

Santa Cruz on course for derby date
Roque Santa Cruz is in line to make his debut in next month's Manchester derby... And, while Hughes is reluctant to put a timescale on the 27-year-old's availability, the September 20 showdown with Sir Alex Ferguson's men at Old Trafford is a possibility. "We are talking about two or three weeks," Hughes told www.mcfc.co.uk.

Fulham sign Greening on loan from West Brom
Fulham complete Duff signing
I don't see much fantasy value in these signings... at least not with Murphy, Dempsey and Gera fit and Davies on the mend. But I do think these are great real world signings for Fulham and will allow them to reasonably compete in multiple competitions without stretching themselves too thin. Kudos to Hodgson and co.

Johnson out for up to eight weeks

Furious Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has blasted the challenge that has left Andy Johnson out for up to eight weeks with a dislocated collarbone.

Hodgson was livid after Amkar Perm defender Dmitry Belorukov executed a cynical body-check that left Johnson sprawled on the pitch in the second half of Thursday's 3-1 Europa League play-off victory.

"It was a good win against a difficult team but the game has been marred by the unbelievably blatant challenge on Andy Johnson," said Hodgson.

"It has dislocated his collarbone and put him out for a long time.

More Fulham news, and this no good. But there may be a silver lining for fantasy managers in the form of 4.99 Erik Nevland. He looked capable when called upon last season. However, Fulham have a bit of a rough run over the next few weeks - Chelsea, @Amkar (Russia), @Villa, Everton, @Wolves, Arsenal. Nevland will be interesting for consideration but certainly isn't an automatic selection.

Hot Rod shines as Everton stroll

Rookie midfielder Jack Rodwell became Everton's youngest goalscorer in European competition with two spectacular long-range goals in their emphatic Europa League play-off first-leg victory over Sigma Olomouc at Goodison Park.

Louis Saha also weighed in with a brace, as manager David Moyes got the response he was looking for after the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal last Sunday.

I've certainly been hyping Everton and now Rodwell has entered the picture as a budget midfielder. I would think there are better options in the side, but at 4 cheaper than Fellaini, or 7 cheaper than Baines he might be worth consideration as a midfield enabler.


  1. Rodwell will be a great budget mid except that he is not going to get that many games. Sure he gets a place in the team now but Arteta is coming back in a week or so... and when the defender issue is sorted out, Phil Nev will be back in mid too.. so I think his chance of getting games might be slim.

  2. Am I crazy for putting Tevez in? Hughes quote from ManCity's website: "The aim was to give him an hour of playing time and he's come through with flying colours. He did really well at the Nou Camp and he's now ready - he can play the 90. He's fine and he feels strong - he's available for all our games now."
    Ok...does that mean this week???????

  3. Brad, likely it does mean this week.