We can’t really talk about Fulham without bringing up everyone’s favourite cockney larrikin. No matter what you thought of his footballing ability, the loss of his personality left a gaping hole in the Latics squad. He as much as anyone personified what made Latics successful in those crazy first four months in this division and his absence will have been a sore loss for the cottagers.
The good news for them is that Jimmy is back in training and has played his first football in a good while for Fulham’s development squad (whatever one of those is). Only time will tell how badly the injury will have affected him as a player, but no doubt everyone in London will be hoping that he will eventually pick up where he left off at the start of last season.
Whilst we wish Jimmy all the best in his recovery, it looks certain that he’ll be playing for one of our main rivals when he does come back, so we’re hoping that he won’t have too much influence on Fulham’s fortunes.
Those fortunes have been mixed so far this season. Fulham have taken points where they might not have expected them but conceded them in games they will have been hoping to get things from. But at least they’ve been consistent in their inconsistency. Latics, on the other hand, have been playing like a moody teenager.
We should be accustomed to the highs and lows by now, and have learnt not to expect too much, no matter how shiny the last performance, but you suspect that last week’s game will have buoyed the fans spirits a little too much.
As far as the players are concerned you have to hope that the scars from the thumping in Horwich are still fresh and that they’re committed to cutting out the kind of mistakes that lead to defeat there and that nearly lost us the three points against Blackburn. You have to assume that Bruce will have been working on their concentration over the past seven days; if that’s had any effect then you suspect that we could really start to reap the benefits at the cottage.
The pundits and television producers may disagree, after all Fulham v Wigan doesn’t have that “Grand Slam Sunday” ring to it, but this should be an interesting game. I’ll not sell it on entertainment for neutral but a game that you can’t call; between two teams scratching for points where they can find them is exactly the sort of game I love to watch.
Plus a day trip to the capital is always a bonus, pre-Christmas even more so. Which is why your humble correspondent reports with some regret that he’ll be spending Saturday blinged up to the nines with his New Era cap at a cocky angle*, and dusting down Perm towers to make way for the fresh load of colourful plastic that I have been promised is arriving by reindeer power on Monday night, whilst accommodating the inevitable Christmas do hangover.
So if you’re going, have a good one and if not enjoy the coming week, whatever it brings for you.
* Mrs Perm has just informed me that she didn’t mean that kind of rapping. I guess you’d better pass me the scissors and roll of generic sticky tape.
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