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.”