Fulham boss Martin Jol plays down Bobby Zamora rift

 

Fulham manager Martin Jol today played down talk of a rift with Bobby Zamora.

The 30-year-old's relationship with the Cottagers boss has been a hot topic of debate in recent months and was fuelled further by the striker's omission from Saturday's match at Swansea.

Zamora will return to the Fulham squad for tomorrow's vital Europa League encounter against Odense but there is speculation that the England international could leave Craven Cottage in January, with Sunderland and QPR mooted as potential destinations.

Jol this afternoon brushed off such talk ahead of tomorrow's Europa League Group K tie with Odense, which the west Londoners need to win to ensure progression to the knockout stage.

"I said to him a few weeks ago 'do you love this club?' and he said 'yeah, I love this club, I love this team'," Jol said.

"I don't think there is any problem. I think the grass is always greener [on the other side] but it is not only for him.

"There are always players in a squad of 24 or 25 players that look at other clubs, but this is a great club.

"There is not one player that has told me he does not want to play for this squad.

"I feel if you look at the media, they started this Bobby thing in August.

"There are a few youngsters that tell me they should be playing and are not playing all the time, but Bobby is totally different.

"I wanted a good atmosphere and a good team that pushes each other so I though last weekend it was time for Andy Johnson to play because he has scored goals.

"He had good games and worked hard in training so that was the motivation."

Asked again whether there was a rift with Zamora, he retorted: "They (the media) said we had a 'bust-up' at the start of the season, but you always have a little bit of a disagreement.

"If you want them to go into space and they want to come to the ball or, for example, [Pajtim] Kasami has to play on the right and wants to play number 10.

"I have got a lot of players who have to play in a different ways, like the youngster Kerim Frei.

"The main thing is the team, the club."

Zamora's return to the squad for tomorrow would likely see him replace Johnson in attack.

The 30-year-old misses the Group K finale through suspension and will be joined on the sidelines by Bryan Ruiz, Danny Murphy and Steve Sidwell.

Fulham are boosted by the return of Damien Duff and Chris Baird, although goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer faces a fitness test.

"He has a problem with his spine because he had that fall [at Swansea] but we make a decision today," Jol said.

"The specialist is coming this afternoon to make a decision, but I think he has a great chance to play.

"Sidwell is not available, it is longer than I thought. Danny Murphy has a problem with his ankle and Damien Duff is back.

"I will play different players because I think I need to, but we still have a strong team.

"I realise we need to win this game because of the Wisla Krakow away game where we lost 1-0.

"It made it difficult for ourselves and we have to win tomorrow. It is a must-win game.

"I know Twente will play almost a reserve side [in the group's other match] so I think Wisla have a great chance to win that game so we have to do everything tomorrow to win."

PA

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