No place like home – Dempsey

Clint Dempsey is determined to continue making Craven Cottage the fortress it has been over the last year, with Sunderland the next visitors.

Fulham‘s home form helped them qualify for the Europa League this season, with only Chelsea and Arsenal beating Roy Hodgson’s men on their own turf during the current Premier League campaign.

“We don’t rely on our home form,” said Dempsey.

“We take it one game at a time but you do have to think that at home is where you should get a lot of points because you’re used to the ground and you have a lot of people supporting you.

“Last year we did so well at home so why not think that we can do the same this season.”

Dempsey was rested for most of Thursday’s midweek victory over CSKA Sofia, coming on for the last 20 minutes, and against Sunderland will be looking to continue his goalscoring streak after five goals in his last six league appearances.

“Goals come in waves,” said Dempsey. “At the beginning of the season I was shooting from everywhere and had a lot of good chances.

“I had a deflected shot off Bobby Zamora that went in that he got the credit for. Different things happen and you score in waves and you’ve got to keep shooting and keep working hard to take advantage of your opportunities.”

Another reason for his recent goal haul has been Hodgson deploying him in a more advanced role due to Andrew Johnson’s groin injury.

“I feel I’m getting more confident playing up top in terms of what type of runs I need to make into the channels and how I can be a better link-up man for my team-mates,” Dempsey added.

“When I first came in I wasn’t really aware of some of those things and I’d drop deep to get the ball instead of staying on the shoulders of the defenders.

“Working with Roy, Mike Kelly and Ray Lewington has developed my game more and my main role for this team is playing on the left side but it’s good to be able to play a different position to cover for the team when I can.”

Johnson is out for a few weeks yet after going under the knife to cure his groin problem, while skipper Danny Murphy came back from a knee injury in the CSKA win.

Dempsey added: “It’s good that we have people who can step up into different positions. Also it’s good that AJ and Danny are getting back to fitness which will strengthen the squad and make it more difficult to get into the XI and we’ll be better for it.

“I think everybody has done a good job of chipping in and taken the opportunity to get on the field and showed that they should be out there.”

Murphy hopes Johnson will be back in action soon, adding: “Hopefully the operation he is having will clear the problem, which will be for the best in the long run.”