Duff: Roy helped to relight my fire

Duff will line up against Wolfsburg tonight as Fulham look to take
their fairytale season one step further by claiming a place in the
last four of the Europa League. Duff’s arrival at Craven Cottage
last year brought to an end an unhappy three-year at Newcastle that
was ravaged by injury and inconsistency. His hard work and tenacity
made him an instant hit with the Fulham faithful, and he has
provided four goals and many assists for the Londoners so far this
term. The winger admits his rejuvenation is mainly down to
62-year-old Hodgson, who also managed Duff during his first years
as a professional at Blackburn. “It was well documented that my
three years at Newcastle didn’t work out so it was a massive move
for me to come to Fulham to get my career going again,” said Duff,
who won two titles at Fulham’s west London rivals Chelsea before
joining Newcastle. “I knew the gaffer from my Blackburn days so it
was always going to be exciting. “Working with him has sparked me
again – I’ve loved every minute of it and it’s been really
enjoyable. It’s just what I needed after my three years at
Newcastle. It’s been a great season.” Duff and Bobby Zamora gave
Fulham a 2-0 lead in the first leg at Craven Cottage but Alexander
Madlung’s last-minute header gave the Bundesliga champions what
could turn out to be a vital away goal. Hodgson is without Clint
Dempsey and David Elm for tonight’s clash at the Volkswagen Arena
but Zamora is expected to overcome an Achilles injury to start
alongside Zoltan Gera up front. The Fulham players have complained
of fatigue during a long season which has encompassed 53 games and
began with a Europa League qualifier against Lithuanian minnows
Vetra in July. Hodgson admits such a long season has taken its toll
on his side but he is adamant that both he and his players will be
up for the game. “These sort of games fire you up even more and
they remind you why you still want to be involved at the very top
level,” said Hodgson, who took Inter Milan to the UEFA Cup final in
1997. “We’ve had some great games in the Europa League.”