Before Bobby Zamora emerged as Fulham's spearhead, there was Andrew Johnson. Remember him? The former England international who the Cottagers bought in 2008 for £10.5m from Everton. He played a full campaign in his first season in south-west London but last year picked up a problem in August, came back too quickly and then disappeared from view after an FA Cup tie in January.
Finally, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. After a brief appearance at West Bromwich last week, he came on as a substitute for the last 10 minutes of this easy win.
All this time away has not been easy for Johnson, who turns 30 in February. He said: "I was out for three months with my groin as well before [this injury] so it has been a 14-month lay-off. It's been very frustrating, very hard, it has definitely done my head in. It's like London buses, they all come along together – that's how my injuries have been. I have had a lucky career as regards to injuries but those 14 months have been very difficult."
Since August last year, his injuries have been to a cruciate ligament, a shoulder, his groin, and then this year his knee. Rushing back from one led to another, by loading stress on other parts of his body. He is four weeks away from full fitness but still showed some nimble touches in his cameo. By that stage Fulham were cruising as Clint Dempsey's first-half goals – a header and a well-taken strike – were enough against an abject Wigan, whose manager Roberto Martinez, admitted were "mentally flat" after reaching the last eight of the Carling Cup.
Still, Fulham took a worryingly long time to secure their first win in seven games. Only once left-back Carlos Salcido got forward did they pose a threat. It was the Mexico international who provided the cross for Dempsey's first, before Chris Baird supplied the American with the pass for the second as Fulham jumped into the top half of the table. To stay there keeping everyone fit is the minimum requirement.
Man of the match Dempsey
Possession: Fulham 65% Wigan 35%
Shots on target Fulham 9 Wigan 3
Referee A Marriner (West Midlands)
Match rating 7/10Reuse content