BY DANIEL MARSH
Scott Parker admits that tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with QPR could be the perfect opportunity for some Fulham players to put themselves in the shop window for a January move.
The emphasis for the Whites this month is expected to be on removing players from a bloated first-team squad. Fulham’s focus on Premier League survival and the recent Covid-19 outbreak amongst the senior side means that a number of changes for the derby clash with QPR are likely – including some who could be on their way out of the club for more first-team football.
“That definitely could be the case,” said Fulham boss Parker. “In terms of looking at the game and where we are, there’s no denying there’s a lot of players and we’re trying to trim the squad down a little bit. We’ve got a big squad with a lot of bodies in it. But at the same time, it’s an opportunity for some to show their quality and then help us for the remaining part of the season.”
One of those players who will be looking to tomorrow as an opportunity to play their way back into contention for Fulham could be Josh Onomah. The versatile midfielder has been out since mid-October with a knee injury which resulted in him being excluded from the Whites’ 25-man registered squad for the Premier League.
“[Josh] had a big injury – he needed to get back up to speed and really it’s worked pretty well in the sense that he wasn’t in the squad due to that.,” said Parker. “He’s now been training with us for a few weeks, so an opportunity maybe for him at the weekend to get some minutes and put himself there to get into the 25-man squad and help us for the remainder of the season.
“Terence [Kongolo] is back in training too, he’s had a full week with us. He’s close now. We’ll see how we come out of tomorrow and leading into Saturday, but he could be an option for us.”
Parker also reserved special praise for the attitude of Marek Rodak. The Slovakian goalkeeper was impressive in Fulham’s promotion campaign last year, but has been second choice this term to loanee Alphonse Areola.
The French stopper has been in inspired form for the majority of his temporary stay in west London, leaving Rodak on the bench.
“Like anything, Marek was first class last year – an incredible keeper. He’s very, very young, and we decided to bring someone in this year and he’s had to sit behind him. But the way the boy is in terms of coming in every day and improving – the person in front of him at the moment’s got vast experience and he can learn from him. Marek’s taken that right on board.
“Of course he’s disappointed. I’m sure he has his days – and I know he does – being disappointed. But, where you are so young and tender in your years as a goalie, with such huge expectations upon him, he can use this time to really develop and push on even more to go up another level.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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