Fulham boss never considered Joe Bryan exit – as Wembley hero ready to step in for Manchester United clash

BY DANIEL MARSH

 

Fulham boss Scott Parker has hailed the attitude of promotion hero Joe Bryan, who is in line for a run in the Whites first-team following Antonee Robinson’s dismissal in the London derby against Chelsea.

Bryan, 27, played a pivotal role in Fulham’s Wembley triumph back in May, netting both goals in the 2-1 win over Brentford.

But he’s been forced to sit behind new arrival Robinson for the majority of the campaign. He now has an opportunity to force his way back into the fold – and he has the backing of his Head Coach.

Parker admitted: “I’m sure it’s been very, very difficult for Joe. Last year he was fantastic for us – I think he was right up there for the most assists in our team. He started the season with the shirt, and I think Joe would be the first to say that he didn’t really grab that opportunity with both hands. He’s had to sit behind Antonee and watch him do extremely well over the last few games, so this is now an opportunity for him.

“Joe’s an unbelievable professional; he comes in every day and wants to get better and works as hard as he can. I know for sure he has the qualities and the capabilities to grab this opportunity. That’s what he needs to do, because it has been tough for him. He was instrumental last year, the [play-off] final was just a snapshot of that really. He gets his chance now to come into this team and to show everyone, to show the Premier League, how good he is.”

Despite his erratic game-time this term, Parker revealed a move has never been on the agenda for Bryan or the club.

“That has never come up. I had a conversation with Joe at the start of the season explaining that competition in the form of Antonee Robinson was coming in. But there’s never been a conversation with me and Joe regarding a move. This is the Premier League, there are bigger squads with more competition. They’ve been going toe to toe really – Joe’s been first class.

“I’m fortunate enough to have two left-backs who have brilliant quality. I think we’ve all been accustomed to seeing Joe’s qualities – his delivery of the ball, his set-plays. He can score goals as well and play higher up the pitch. This is a big opportunity for Joe now.”

Parker also gave an update on the Whites January transfer business, confirming that the club were no closer to moving out unregistered players Stefan Johansen, Kevin McDonald, Jean Michael Seri or Maxime LeMarchand. Le Marchand has since been linked with a move back to Nice.

Fulham are also keen to bring a striker in, but Parker admitted that the winter market is proving to be a crowded one.

“It’s a tough market and you often find that everyone’s looking for the same player. The names that are often being mentioned are on everyone’s lips. Of course, you’re always looking where you can take an advantage. We’re working relentlessly to get the best deals for the football club and the best people who can come in and help the team.”


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