Football: Nationwide League: Kennedy keen to conquer Fulham

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The Independent Online
MARK KENNEDY, Manchester City's new pounds 1m winger, is hoping he can carry his cup form into the First Division when he is unleashed on Fulham today.

The former Liverpool and Wimbledon player scored two goals in his side's 5-0 Worthington Cup romp against Burnley on Wednesday. Now he is training his sights on Paul Bracewell's men in a match which sees two of last season's promoted sides meet at Craven Cottage. Kennedy said: "I was gutted last Sunday after our opening defeat by Wolves. They and Fulham are the big guns of this division and I can't wait for the Fulham game."

City's manager, Joe Royle, is without Danny Granville and knows Richard Edghill may also be out of action, said: "Mark is an awesome finisher and we can see that in training. I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't get at least double figures this season."

Kit Symons, the former City captain, is in contention for a place in the Fulham line-up after missing the opening match of the season at Birmingham last week through suspension. The Welsh international said: "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be involved. Everyone here is looking forward to the game and hopefully picking up three points.

"With suspensions and injuries we know that it's going to be a real squad game this season, so the key for everyone is to be patient. City had a great win over Burnley in midweek and that will give them a lot of confidence."

The Bolton manager, Colin Todd, is hoping Bob Taylor can help his side get among the goals against Queens Park Rangers. Wanderers have scored just once in their first two games but Taylor is back after a knee injury and Todd said: "The problem so far this season, if we've had a problem, is that we haven't been finishing teams off when we've had the chance. We haven't been sticking the ball in the back of the net."

The Queen's Park Rangers manager, Gerry Francis, is refusing to get carried away after his side beat big-spending Huddersfield last week. He insisted: "It's the same team as last year when we only just avoided relegation, so if we can stay in the top half of the league for all of the season that will be a big achievement."

The young Birmingham striker Andrew Johnson looks set to be handed the chance to impress from the start against Norwich at Carrow Road. The 18- year-old scored in the 3-0 victory over Exeter in the Worthington Cup in midweek and is likely to keep his place in the side.

The Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, said: "His form in pre-season has been outstanding and he's given me no option but to put him in from the start. I nearly picked him against Fulham but such was the magnitude of the game that I thought against it. The Exeter game was the ideal stage for him and now he is very much in my plans for the trip to Norwich."

West Bromwich Albion's manager, Brian Little, is playing down reports that Premier League Coventry are interested in Lee Hughes. The striker, the country's top scorer last season, was also linked with Middlesbrough in the summer but Little - whose side visit Port Vale today - insisted: "Coventry have some money to spend as they have just sold Darren Huckerby. Lee will be mentioned as he is a goalscorer, which is what the Premiership clubs are looking for, but at the moment it is just speculation."

For West Bromwich's Black Country rivals Wolves, Robbie Keane will return to the starting line-up after being kept on the bench for the Worthington Cup victory over Wycombe. Keane, the pounds 6m-rated Republic of Ireland striker, scored the only goal at Manchester City last Sunday and the assistant manager at Molineux, John Ward, said: "At home we will have to be more open and adventurous.

"We will be expected to entertain and get forward, we will have to open the game up and be more adventurous with our play."

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