x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hodgson's men are silently making waves

Nobody has been bestowing upon them too many plaudits, but Fulham seem to be the silent movers of the Premier League.

Luka Modric will hope to guide Spurs to victory over Fulham.
Luka Modric will hope to guide Spurs to victory over Fulham.

They seem to be the silent movers of the Premier League, a side slithering along in the shadows. Nobody has been bestowing upon them too many plaudits, but Fulham are suddenly up to eighth place in the standings even though they have not been overly besotted by goals in recent times. Fulham could make further advances out of the undergrowth and into the the top six over the festive period without having to leave London. They visit Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Dec 26, and host Chelsea at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Roy Hodgson's perky team, somewhat curiously when one thinks about it, seem to have been upwardly mobile since their leading lights entered a period of darkness.

Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora have not scored in their past five games, but Fulham are proving hard to beat. They condemned Middlesbrough to a 3-0 thumping on Saturday with the effervescent Jimmy Bullard netting one of their goals. It has been suggested that the midfielder Bullard's future could lie elsewhere, despite his recent contribution. "Jimmy is doing a good job, but a lot of players are doing a fantastic job in this team," said Hodgson. "I and the rest of the players can feel a bit aggrieved that all the talk seems to be revolving around one man."

They have managed draws with Stoke, Manchester City and Aston Villa. The trick now is to turn the draws into wins. Fulham defeated Tottenham 2-1 last month. A similar result would leave them blooming in December. Depending on which daily tabloid you read in the UK, Harry Redknapp is apparently on the brink of concluding transfers worth a whopping £30m (Dh165m) to sign Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough and/or Craig Bellamy from West Ham United in January.

He is hoping to mould his side into a shape that will glide easily away from the nether regions of the league. Redknapp has had an enjoyable 2008 in winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth in May. He would not mind encountering a repeat dose of such joyous moments in his new job, but Tottenham lost 2-1 at Newcastle last weekend and there is a need for them to snarl at home. dkane@thenational.ae