Coleman juggles depleted reserves in search for win

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The Independent Football

It is a short journey from Craven Cottage to Vicarage Road but it is not always straightforward, unlike Watford's recent tactics. Fulham's manager, Chris Coleman, goes into tonight's Premiership game with six first-team players out injured and without a win in three games.

Fulham may be six places above Watford, but Coleman knows that anything other than 100 per cent from his team will not be enough to secure three points. "We need to play with tempo and enthusiasm," he said. "They've got a wonderful spirit and we've got to match that. We've got to go there and get some points."

Coleman is considering making a change to a 4-4-2 formation, with Papa Bouba Diop, whom Coleman says has developed tremendously, playing as the holding midfielder.

"When he arrived, positionally, he was all over the place," Coleman said. "I don't think he knew what I was shouting at him. Now he keeps his position better and, although it may seem like he is doing less, he is making an important contribution to the team."

Despite Coleman's attacking intent, there is unlikely to be a starting place for Heidar Helguson, the Icelandic striker returning to Vicarage Road for the first time since a £1.3m move in the summer of 2005.

"Heidar is a tough boy," Coleman said. "We turned down an offer for him in the summer, and he knows he's going to play lots of games. But it might work against him, going back."

That means Collins John is likely to start up front with Brian McBride.

For the Watford manager, Adrian Boothroyd, a visit from a depleted Fulham side represents a good opportunity for a first League win of the season. He is likely to start with the same team that drew with Wigan nine days ago.

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