Nani out to repay Fergie faith
John Arne Riise wants Fulham to take advantage of Tottenham
Hotspur’s hectic schedule when Martin Jol returns to his former
club on Sunday.
The Cottagers have not been in competitive action since the 2-2
draw at Sunderland on March 2 after being knocked out of the FA
Tottenham, in contrast, will have played three additional
fixtures by the time they face Fulham and Riise is hopeful that
Spurs’ busy run can work in their favour.
“It’s one of the toughest matches because of the way they play
and they’re in good shape,” Riise told Fulham’ official
“But they have a heavy schedule right now as they’re playing in
the Europa League so hopefully they’ll be a bit tired.”
The Norway full-back is not expecting an easy afternoon across
London and added: “They still have one of the best players in the
league at the moment in Gareth Bale.
“He can’t stop scoring and he’s a fantastic person as well.
They’ve got Aaron Lennon on the other side too and good players all
over the pitch.
“It will be nice to see Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey again
but it will be a very tough game for us. That’s the type of game
we’ll go into to try and get at least a point.”
The fixture also represents the chance for Fulham to make amends
after the 3-0 home defeat to their London rivals at Craven Cottage
earlier this term.
“We should have won that game but somehow lost,” said Riise.
“But every game has its own life and, as I said, they have a
busy schedule, whereas we’ll have had a free weekend.
“We’ll train well and prepare our best for it and we look
forward to it. It’s a derby and anything can happen.”
The country’s 32 lower-league clubs are currently mulling over
plans to reorganise Scottish football under one league body.
Among the proposals are blueprints for a 12-team top division
and similarly-sized Championship second tier that would merge into
three groups of eight after 22 games in order to decide the major
issues – the title, European qualification and relegation out of
the top flight.
But the sticking point for some of the nation’s smallest clubs
is whether to proceed with an 18-team third division or persist
with the current Second and Third Divisions comprising 10 teams
The first option, however, means runaway Irn-Bru Third Division
leaders Rangers would remain trapped in the basement of Scottish
football for another year and that has sparked outrage among their
Now Rangers Supporters Assembly chief Andy Kerr claims the
Glasgow giants’ fanbase will look to take revenge if the 18-team
bottom tier is voted in.
He told the Scottish Sun: “The only thing that is pushing this
is short-sighted finance. The top 12 clubs are happy because
nothing is changing.
“The teams below them are happy because they are getting a
bigger share, while those 17 clubs left along with Rangers are
happy. They are rubbing their hands at the thought of the gate
“While we want to support our team, serious questions would have
to be asked. I think there’s a huge risk Rangers fans will simply
say, ‘enough is enough’.
“We are trying to work our way back while others are attempting
to hold us back and drag us down. I don’t believe our fans would
stand for it, and nor should they.
“It’s been an adventure this year. But the thought of having to
go through all that again, having won the league and not been
promoted, would have a very negative affect among our
The Portuguese winger was given the nod to start last week’s
crucial UEFA Champions League showdown against Real Madrid but was
controversially sent off as United bowed out of the
Nani, who has just a year left on his contract at Old Trafford,
thinks he is hitting form just in time for the run-in and is keen
to repay Sir Alex Ferguson for showing faith in him.
“I feel I’m in good form and I’ve nearly arrived at my peak,” he
said in the Daily Star.
“I think over the next few games I can surprise a few people. I
want to show the manager that he can trust me and he can believe in
me in every match.
“My confidence is high and I think the best is still to come
“This is my time – and I think I can be important for the team
in these big games.
“Because I was injured for two months, it means I’m fresh now
when some other players are starting to get tired.
“I want to show him my contribution can help win games, so I’ll
keep working hard to make sure I’m ready every time I get a