Fulham to travel by road to Hamburg

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The Independent Football

Fulham have confirmed they will travel by road to Germany today for the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Hamburg.

Flights out of Britain continue to be disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud produced by the erupting Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull.

After being closed since Thursday, British airspace reopened this morning, but it could close again this afternoon after air traffic control company Nats warned the volcano could erupt again.

The Cottagers, who are chasing their first European final in history, had hoped to fly by private jet to Hamburg tomorrow morning but they have now admitted defeat and will revert to plan B.

The team will now board a luxurious coach to Folkestone this morning, where they will catch the Eurotunnel to Calais before driving to Hamburg on the same coach. It is anticipated that the approximate 600-mile journey will take between 10 and 12 hours to complete.

A club spokesman said this morning: "I can confirm that we will be travelling to Germany some time today in line with our contingency plans."

With airports set to close again this afternoon, it is unlikely the Fulham supporters who have bought airline tickets to Germany will be able to fly to Hamburg.

Around 2,500 of them have tickets to the game and many have already started making plans to travel by land.

In cricket, Essex will be without New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin for their LV= County Championship match against Lancashire because of the travel disruption.

The 35-year-old's arrival was put back owing to a delay in the processing of his visa and the situation has been compounded by the problems affecting air travel.

Martin is not now expected to be available until next week.

Essex first team XI head coach Paul Grayson said: "It's disappointing for both ourselves and the player but unfortunately, we can't do anything about the situation.

"But we have to put that aside; we are looking forward to a good game with Lancashire and we go into that match full of self-belief."