Europe not a distraction for Fulham says Hodgson

Roy Hodgson has denied the Europa League is a distraction as the Fulham boss prepares to alter his selection policy for tomorrow's clash with Basle.

The Cottagers named a weakened side for their Group E opener against CSKA Sofia but still left the Bulgarian capital with a creditable 1-1 draw.

Damien Duff, David Stockdale, Dickson Etuhu, Simon Davies and Brede Hangeland will miss the Basle showdown through injury, but otherwise Hodgson plans to name a strong line-up.

The 62-year-old insists Fulham take their European commitments seriously and is adamant his squad can cope with the tournament alongside the Barclays Premier League.

West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday is the club's next domestic assignment, but halting a three-match losing streak tomorrow is the priority.

"You shouldn't regard the Europa League as a distraction," he said.

"If you don't want distractions then you should refuse the offer to qualify for Europe even if you qualified to do so.

"There was never any question of us doing that. We tried to finish as high as we could in the Premier League last season and ended up getting a European place.

"We certainly don't see Europe as a distraction, we regard it as an interesting adventure.

"It's a test for the squad but we're strong enough to select a team to win tomorrow and on Sunday in the Premier League."

Fulham hope UEFA will allow them to register keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler in time for the clash against his former club after Stockdale suffered a knee injury in training.

Mark Schwarzer and Zuberbuhler are the club's only fit keepers as the club's two names on the B-list are also in the treatment room, but the former Switzerland international is not registered for the Europa League.

"We've found it difficult to register Zuberbuhler because of the restrictions that meant we had to leave him off the list," said Hodgson

"You have to have so many home-grown players and we don't have any. Twenty-five players for most teams becomes 20 for us because of that.

"I am hoping he'll be on the list for tomorrow because otherwise we'll be in serious trouble as we don't have any other keepers.

"I'm confident that our wish to exchange Stockdale's name for Zuberbuhler will be okay. Normally you're allowed to make the change with 24 hours notice."

Top seeds Basle, who finished third in the Swiss Super League last season, top Group E following their surprise 2-0 victory over Roma.

"We've been lucky to have been drawn in a quality group. We're not seeded to qualify but I wouldn't be surprised if we did qualify," said Hodgson.

Hodgson's extensive coaching CV includes a two-year spell at Swiss club side Neuchatel Xamax and success in guiding the national team to the 1994 World Cup - their first appearance at the finals since 1966.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US