Wednesday, 24 March 2010

It's all work work work

Fulham are the visitors to the KC Stadium this weekend, and the main hope that the Tiger Nation will harbour towards gaining a crucial three points is that our opponents will be completely shattered.

Their squad isn't big and they have made laudable progress in both the Europa League and the FA Cup this season while also maintaining the status quo within the Premier League. But they have a daunting FA Cup replay - ie, a preventable game - against Tottenham Hotspur tonight, and the point may just be round the corner where the fatigue finally hits.

This means that Iain Dowie's team changes - and there has to be some - need to emphasise the contribution of workhorses in the squad. The likes of Dean Marney, who is already back in the side, plus Seyi Olofinjana, Jozy Altidore and even Geovanni, who had become much more of a team player this season than he ever could have been last, need to be involved.

All players should work hard, of course, and sheer graft means nothing if you have little inkling of the correct way to kick the ball, but if playing against an overachieving team based on togetherness rather than size, then you have to try to peck them into submission. Give them no time on the ball, no space to play about, no moments of recuperation.

City beat Fulham on the opening day of last season to create club history. This weekend they need to repeat that feat to try to maintain some club history. As good as Fulham are, they are showing that fortunes in glitzy European competitions can be detrimental to the weekly bread and butter stuff. City have no such excuse, and every such reason to prove it.