Fulham - Norwich Preview: Hughton hoping for winning start with Canaries
The Norfolk side travel to Craven Cottage to face Martin Jol's team on the opening day of the campaign and the new boss at Carrow Road will be confident of getting off to a flyer
By Jordan Halford
Riether, Hangelaand, Baird, Riise
Ruiz, Diarra, Dembele, Duff
R Martin, Turner, R Bennett, Tierney
E Bennett, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington
Fulham welcome Chris Hughton's Norwich to Craven Cottage on Saturday, with the new Canaries boss Chris Hughton hoping he can get his tenure at Carrow Road off to the perfect start.
The Norfolk club head into the game off the back of a decent pre-season campaign, which saw them suffer just two defeats at the hands of German clubs Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach.
The new manager has managed to inherit the vast majority of the squad which finished in 12th place last season and also acquired former Leeds skipper Robert Snodgrass for £3 million during the summer, in addition to giving star-striker Grant Holt a three-year contract extension.
Spanish left-back Javier Garrido has arrived at Carrow Road on a season-long loan from Lazio and could be pushing for a start on Saturday.
Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan joined up with Giovanni Trapattoni's squad to face Serbia as a replacement for the injured Darron Gibson, but the Norwich man suffered from an Achilles' problem himself and looks set to be sidelined for the season's curtain-raiser.
The Canaries will also be without defenders Elliott Ward and Steven Whittaker for the trip to west London, in addition to midfield pair David Fox and Jacob Butterfield.
Martin Jol's side, meanwhile, wiil be hoping to improve on their 9th place finish last season and push for a European place this time round after a period of instability at the club, which has seen three managers in as many seasons.
The Cottagers suffered just one defeat during their pre-season campaign against Championship newcomers Charlton Athletic, but the Dutchman has been forced to completely rebuild the Whites' frontline after the departure of Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson to rivals QPR.
Last season's top goalscorer Clint Dempsey also looks set for pastures new, but Jol has managed to bring in former Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega to partner Mladen Petric up front. Brian Ruiz endured a torrid time at the Cottage last season since his arrival from Twente, so will be hoping to deliver in the forthcoming 2012-13 campaign.
The Cottagers are likely to be without midfielder Simon Davies for the clash, who is out with a neck injury, while Aaron Hughes (ankle) is also a doubt, as is Philippe Senderos after being sidelined during pre-season.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Fulham sent the Canaries down in the 2004-05 season, after a 6-0 demolition at the Cottage condemned Nigel Worthington's side to life back in the Championship.
- The two sides have met on 38 occasions, with Fulham winning 17 and Norwich 11. 10 have been draws.
- Fulham, meanwhile, scored an impressive 15 goals in their seven outings.
- Norwich haven't won at Craven Cottage for 26 years; their last victory was a 1-0 win in 1986.
- Chris Hughton's side have kept four clean sheets in their seven pre-season games.
- Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy (pictured right) became the first Canaries player since Robert Green to play for England when he appeared for 45 minutes against Italy on Wednesday.
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Top 3 Predictions
Fulham 2-1 Norwich City
- 17.87 %
Fulham 2-0 Norwich City
- 13.55 %
Fulham 1-1 Norwich City
- 10.66 %
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Feb 2013||Norwich City 0 - Fulham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Aug 2012||Fulham 5 - Norwich City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||31 Mar 2012||Fulham 2 - Norwich City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||31 Dec 2011||Norwich City 1 - Fulham 1|
|19 May 2013||Swansea City 0 - Fulham 3||EPL|
|12 May 2013||Fulham 1 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|4 May 2013||Fulham 2 - Reading 4||EPL|
|27 Apr 2013||Everton 1 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|20 Apr 2013||Fulham 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|Returns:||Fulham £18.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Norwich City £810.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|7||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The 31-year-old scored a brace in the 2-2 draw with FC Kaiserslautern and arrives at the Cottage with a proven goalscoring record on the continent, having also bagged 12 goals in 44.
He was given the captain's armband upon the arrival of Neil Warnock as manager and won the club's 2011-12 fans' and players' player of the season before making the switch to Carrow Road. He has made five caps for the national side, scoring once, and will be keen to make an impression on his Premier League debut.
Chris Hughton has only had seven games to work with his new-look squad, but in addition to a watertight defence the acquisition of former Leeds man Robert Snodgrass will give the Canaries and added dimension alongside last season's top scorer Grant Holt. He will be keen to impress on his top-flight debut, but so will new Cottagers signing Mladen Petric, who, alongside Hugo Rodallega will be a handful for any Premier Leagye defence on their day. Don't be surprised if Hughton's side manage to steal an away win on the opening day, although both sides would probably settle for a share of the spoils.