England

Roy distracted by Europa League dream

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16/04/2010 16:57 +0100

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson admits he will go into Saturday's clash against Wolves with dreams of European glory in the back of his mind.

Fulham take on Mick McCarthy's men at Craven Cottage tomorrow in what is effectively a dead rubber for both sides.

The Cottagers passed the 40-point mark with a 2-1 victory over Wigan a fortnight ago, while Wolves' recent good form has seen them move six points clear of the drop zone with four matches remaining.

UEFA Europa League

 
Thu., Apr. 22
Atletico 1-0 Liverpool | Recap
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham | Recap
Thu., Apr. 29
Liverpool 2-1 (aet) Atletico | Recap
Fulham 2-1 Hamburg | Recap
Wed., May 12 - FINAL
Atletico 2-1 (aet) Fulham | Recap
 

Hodgson's team will depart for Germany next week hoping to add Hamburg to the impressive list of scalps which has seen them reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

With Fulham's trophy cabinet currently bereft of any major silverware, Hodgson concedes that he is struggling to focus on the task of gaining three more Premier League points.

He said: "It would be nice to say that I have only thought about Wolves and that we haven't thought about Hamburg, but if I said that it wouldn't be accepted because anybody in their right minds would know that the semi-final of a Europa League is a massive occasion for any club, let alone a club like Fulham.

"As a club we haven't had any European experience so of course we have it in the back of our minds.

"There were several hundred teams who entered the Europa League at the start of the campaign and we are happy to be one of the final four.

"We realise that we are in touching distance of such a major trophy and I'm sure that the two matches we play we will give our utmost to get there."

As well as reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League, the Cottagers made the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and also look set to finish in the top half of the Premier League table.

Hodgson has deservedly earned many plaudits for his efforts, especially given a transfer budget that was tiny in comparison to most top flight sides.

He admits he would like the money to sign one or two players this summer in order to avoid the chaos that hit his side in February, when injuries to several key players decimated his side.

"We have no deals lined up at the moment," the 62-year-old said. "But it's something that our scouts work on daily. They work their socks off trying to find names and suggest players.

"I do think that we could do with that little bit more help with one or two more players in there to make certain that we keep competition for players high, and also so that when we do lose players through injury, like we have done this season, we have the kind of players that are as competent and talented as the ones we have lost."

Hodgson will be without Andy Johnson (knee) and Clint Dempsey (thigh) tomorrow, although he is confident that Dempsey will be fit for Thursday's game in Hamburg. John Pantsil is also available after overcoming a knee injury which has sidelined him since December.

Hodgson is expecting a tough test from Mick McCarthy's side, who have defied their critics to move away from the relegation zone.

"Mick McCarthy has done an excellent job there," he said.

"He has organised his team very well, they play well for each other and in Kevin Doyle they have found a centre forward who has worked hard and has scored plenty of goals."

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