Enemy Lines - Fulham

As we conclude our build up to the new season, Burnden Aces have got the views of a Fulham fan ahead of the big kick-off.

Emerging from the summer of the tediously dull World Cup and everyone's favourite pre-season is the real football, starting again this Saturday.

First up at the Reebok is Fulham, who, having lost Roy Hodgson to Liverpool, have a new man in place in the form of Mark Hughes, who will be hoping to replicate Hodgson's achievements and impress early on in his Fulham reign.

So what has Putney, resident Fulham fan of Vital Fulham made of the summer of change at the Cottage?

"It was certainly a shock to see Roy walk away but I get the feeling if one of the top clubs were going to request his services then he'd be only too willing to seek one last hurrah. As for his replacement, Mark Hughes, we're optimistic he can take us on a few steps although this season could be something of a transition season as he takes a look at our squad, adds to it and develops it along the lines his managerial style dictates."

And now for some questions:

How has your squad changed over the summer and how does the team that will start this year fair against the team that finished last season?
The squad isn't too different at the time of writing. Chris Smalling has left for Manchester United but that was always on the cards seeing as they'd signed him back in January only to loan him back to us. As for the others, Roy has stuck to his words and not taken anybody with him whilst Mark Hughes has re-iterated Konchesky and Schwarzer are going nowhere. So apart from the acquisition of Senderos, we're pretty much the same side.

The last couple of seasons have been relative successes for you, do you expect that to continue this season or are your expectations slightly lower?

I doubt we'll hit the heights of last season. Who'd have thought we'd reach the final of a European competition fantasy stuff that was. I reckon we'll probably finish midway in the league but have a decent FA Cup run this time around.

And what do you make of our chances this season under Owen Coyle now that he has had chance to get his own team in place?

It surprised me that Coyle left Burnley but I guess the lure of a club he played for was too much. They always say it takes time to make a lasting impact rather than a short term one so I reckon he'll be looking for results this time around although I'll reserve judgment on how things will turn out until a few games have been played.

What do you expect from the league in general this year? Any team already looking like a stand out winner, will the 'Big 4' be further disrupted and which teams can you see being the relegation fodder of the league this year?

I'll deal with the relegation fodder first Blackpool (bless them) have got relegation written all over them and Wigan could be in for a rough ride, I'll dodge the third team in contention though. At the top it'll not be much different to last year with United and Chelsea battling it out with Arsenal possibly a little closer and City coming fourth.

Which Fulham players should we look out for on Saturday as possible threats?

Zoltan Gera has performed well in pre-season, scoring a 12 minute hat-trick against Werder Bremen last Saturday. Bobby Zamora is back to full fitness after his injury plagued finish to last season so I reckon they could well be the two to look out for.

What about any Bolton players you think might cause you a few problems?

Kevin Davies! Under-rated and sure to give anyone a problem or two with his rugged displays. Plus, that Finnish keeper of yours has always impressed me!

And finally, who's going to win this one?

Can I sit on the fence and say an opening day draw?

Burnden Aces would like to thank Putney from Vital Fulham for taking the time to answer our questions. Enemy Lines will return next week ahead of Bolton's trip to West Ham.

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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