Dimitar Berbatov and Mahamadou Diarra return to lift Fulham
Saturday 20 October 2012
Dimitar Berbatov will return to the Fulham starting line-up against Aston Villa today and could be joined by Mahamadou Diarra after what Martin Jol described as a "miracle" recovery.
It has been an amazing turnaround for Diarra as only last month the Fulham manager revealed fears the midfielder could be ruled out for the majority of the season.
Diarra damaged his left knee on his return from international exile with Mali and required surgery, which could have meant five months out had it shown a cruciate ligament problem. Fortunately for Fulham it was the best case scenario but, even still, Jol has been surprised by the speed of recovery.
"Diarra is back," the Fulham manager said. "He is almost a miracle, you know? I thought it would be a bit longer, but they always said it could be three or four weeks or possibly longer. He needed an operation and, having said that, he is still coming back. He will be involved."
Jol can also call upon Berbatov and Mladen Petric against Villa. The pair have recovered from their respective injuries and, aside from long-term absentee Simon Davies, it leaves the Dutchman with fitness concerns only over Bryan Ruiz.
Ninth-placed Fulham will be looking to continue their sturdy start to the season today, where Steve Sidwell is likely to line up against his former club Villa just months after he considered quitting football due to ongoing injury problems.
"Steve Sidwell was very good when he started with Danny Murphy in midfield," Jol said. "He then had his problem with his hernia and came back, then needed an operation again – but he was probably not as fit as he was before. But from pre-season when he came back, I think he is the old Steve Sidwell so he is an important member of our squad."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Mutual contempt burns as rivals Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho face off again
Wayne Rooney is Premier League's richest footballer with £72million worth but Lewis Hamilton leads the Sunday Times Rich List
Memphis Depay to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal faces difficult task as Liverpool hold 'secret' meeting with transfer target
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers reveals transfer plans to sign a new striker to put Daniel Sturridge's future into doubt
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election