Hogson hopes away win makes Fulham stronger

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson hopes his players will start showing more mettle away from home after coming through a testing trip to Accrington Stanley at the weekend.

The Cottagers are currently ninth in the Barclays Premier League but go into tonight's game at Tottenham with only one win from 11 league fixtures on the road this season.

That record meant Hodgson's side were taking nothing for granted in Saturday's fourth-round FA Cup tie, where they were overwhelming favourites to triumph over League Two outfit Stanley.

Injuries to key players, an uneven playing surface and a spirited performance from the hosts all made life uncomfortable for Fulham, but Hodgson was delighted to see his team grind out a 3-1 win in testing conditions.

"Every experience that doesn't damage you makes you stronger and luckily this was an experience that hasn't damaged us too much because we go away with a victory," Hodgson said.

"We came into the game as favourites, you accept that.

"But you know also that despite the fact that you're favourites, it's going to be a tough game because you know the home team know their pitch and their ground very well, they know how to play and also they are a very energetic, enthusiastic, hard-working team.

"So on paper people think Fulham should win that one, but you know as a Fulham manager that it's easier said than done."

Hodgson is also feeling more positive about his attacking options after enduring a terrible run of luck with injuries over recent weeks.

Leading scorer Bobby Zamora broke his collarbone against Stoke earlier this month and Clint Dempsey sustained knee ligament damage at Blackburn in the following fixture.

Meanwhile, Andy Johnson made his first start for almost three months in the FA Cup third round against Swindon, only to be forced out of Saturday's fourth-round tie with a knee problem.

Hodgson's forward line has been decimated, but the trip to the Crown Ground showed he still has alternatives to call upon, with Erik Nevland scoring the opener and the likes of Bjorn Helge Riise and David Elm playing their part.

Fit-again striker Diomansy Kamara and winger Simon Davies were also on the team-sheet as unused substitutes, and with Zamora nearing a return to fitness ahead of tomorrow's match, the manager believes things are looking up again.

"We're missing several players from the team that finished seventh last season," Hodgson said.

"(But) there are a lot of first-team players that we can recover (for tonight's match) so I'm pleased we got through the game (against Accrington).

"I'm pleased that people like Bjorn Helge Riise and David Elm got their chance.

"They're going to need this type of experience and practice because for a long time they've been sitting on the sidelines watching other people play."

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