Roy Hodgson is hoping his Fulham squad can return bigger and better next season after admitting the lack of numbers at Craven Cottage is beginning to take its toll.
The Cottagers' manager watched his team surrender a one-goal lead over Blackburn on Wednesday night on their way to a 2-1 reverse, with Rovers scoring both goals in a second half which Hodgson (right) admitted exposed his players' growing fatigue.
While a handful of Premier League sides enjoyed some time off last weekend, Fulham were playing out the final act of their run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they succumbed 4-0 to Manchester United.
And with Hodgson consistently playing his strongest XI in the Cup, his key players are beginning to feel the strain. They face Bolton today and while Hodgson is hopeful of a better display at the Reebok Stadium, he conceded that he may need more senior squad members next term. "We've not had many opportunities to rest recently but we've had two days to try and lick our wounds and get some energy back into the players," he said. "Of course it concerns me because Blackburn had 10 or 11 days to prepare for the last game, we didn't and that showed. I think we tired more than they did.
"We have a small squad and we've lost a few through injury. We always knew we'd be stretched if we got injuries and the fatigue factor was always going to be a problem for us as well. Next season I'm hoping the squad will be both bigger and stronger."
In the meantime, Hodgson is hoping his side have learnt their lessons after being outmuscled against Sam Allardyce's Rovers side. "Bolton are a team who pressurise the ball well and get it forward early," Hodgson said. "Like Blackburn, they use the strength of their front players, their height to their advantage. We've had a good warning of what is to come."Reuse content