Leaky Fulham pin survival hopes on Brede Hangeland’s return

 

When Brede Hangeland joined Fulham six years ago this month the deal’s timing meant he had to watch from the stand while his new club lost 3-0 at home to Arsenal. After Emmanuel Adebayor scored the second of two barely challenged headers he received a text from a Fulham employee: “That’s why we need u” it read.

This season Fulham have conceded 42 goals, more than any team in the Premier League, including nine at corners. Hangeland has missed three months with a sciatic nerve problem. These facts are related.

Fulham hope their Norwegian giant will return today when Sunderland visit Craven Cottage, too late to save Martin Jol, but a boost for his replacement Rene Meulensteen. With goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg also in line for a comeback, and Clint Dempsey making his second home debut after returning on loan from Seattle Sounders, there is renewed belief by  the Thames.

However, after taking three points at Everton and beating Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, Sunderland also have fresh confidence. They won at Fulham last season and a repeat could lift them off the bottom.

Gus Poyet’s main decision centres on whether to change players involved on Tuesday when Fulham were resting, or hope the buzz of that victory overcomes any fatigue.

Sunderland are yet to beat a fellow struggler and Poyet said: “People say we are going to do well in the second half of the season because we are playing so many teams at home who are in the bottom half. But we haven’t beaten one yet and it is vital that we start doing that. That’s why the Fulham game is such a massive game for us.”

A Sunderland win would bring them within two points of Fulham. Poyet, who arrived on Wearside with the club adrift after taking one point from seven games following Paolo Di Canio’s disastrous reign (which included a home defeat by Fulham), added: “This game is one which can change our season and I’m looking forward to it.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions