Hodgson urges Fulham to seize opportunity

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The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson has challenged his Fulham players to seize the moment and book their trip to Wembley.

Fulham face rivals Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at Craven Cottage tomorrow in what will be the club's biggest match of the season to date.

Victory over Spurs would secure a first visit to Wembley since 1975 when they lost to West Ham in the final of the same competition and continue a season in which they continue to defy all expectations.

Having done the hard work in getting within touching distance of a place in the last four, Hodgson believes it is now time for Fulham to deliver at the critical stage

"It would be great on a personal note to lead a team out in the semi-final at Wembley," said the Fulham manager.

"But more importantly it would be great for the club. These are the type of goals you set yourself at the start of the season.

"When you get this close you realise you'll never have a better opportunity to get across the line.

"Our players know this is a great opportunity. We worked hard for it, it's been handed to us and now we need to do what's necessary to bring home the bacon.

"You know you'll have to knock a very good team out if you're to reach the semi-finals and our moment has now come.

"The scenario is set - it's a London derby between two teams who play good football."

Fulham are entering a pivotal week of their season with Spurs kicking off a hectic schedule of five fixtures in 16 days.

On Thursday they travel to Turin where they meet Juventus in the last 16 of the Europa League before finishing the week with a trip to champions Manchester United.

The following Thursday they host Juventus in the home leg of their European tie and then host Manchester City three days later.

"This is a big month and it's amazing that the games come back to back," said Hodgson.

"First we have Tottenham, who are fourth in the Premier League, and having a great season in the quarter-final. Then a last 16 game in Turin.

"It just makes me realise more and more what a fantastic job the players have done for this club.

"The players aren't satisfied at having got this far. They want to take a step further. The question is if we're good enough.

"It would be a tremendous achievement if we could do something this month and get something from either of the fixtures against Tottenham or Juventus.

"It would give us reason to be proud and would make the club's history books."

Fulham contain four former Spurs players - Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora, Simon Davies and Stephen Kelly - but Hodgson insists reaching Wembley will be sufficient motivation for them tomorrow.

"If we are lucky enough we have a trip to Wembley for the first time in 35 years. That's all the motivation we need," he said.

"We don't feel we have a point to prove because some of our players will be up against their old club."

Murphy, the club captain, will undergo a fitness test on his groin strain tomorrow morning while Paul Konchesky could start at left-back after recovering from his ankle injury.