Martin Jol believes Fulham could finish in top six

 

Martin Jol believes there is a chance Fulham could yet sneak into the top six this season.

The Cottagers are in the midst of a three-game winning streak that has propelled them to eighth in the Barclays Premier League.

Fulham face struggling Aston Villa on Saturday as they look to extend their purple patch and keep the pressure on the teams above them.

The west Londoners are three points off Liverpool and eight behind sixth-placed Newcastle, both of whom are in manager Jol's sights after a rapid rise away from the relegation zone.

"Our target is still 40 or 41 points and then we try to get as high as possible in the league," said the Dutchman.

"If you are very positive then there is Newcastle or Liverpool ahead of us.

"If you are realistic, there is still a lot of good teams around us so hopefully we could end up in the top 10.

"It depends on a lot of things. Clint Dempsey is important, Mousa Dembele, Pavel Pogrebnyak is important, Danny Murphy, Brede Hangeland, so if everyone stays fit we'll get better and better and hopefully we can do something which is nice.

"Maybe it is a bit different this year because last season it was very awkward as three of the four bottom clubs - even in the last month - escaped.

"Only West Ham were relegated from the group so that was an awful season for the likes of Birmingham, who won the Carling Cup and still got relegated.

"It is a bit different now because the gap is a lot bigger this year, which is good.

"At this stage last year the gap between Fulham and the bottom three was four points and now we're 13 or 14 points off so that is the relief."

Fulham's recent run of good form has coincided with Pogrebnyak's introduction to the side.

The Russia international joined on transfer deadline day to help fill the void left by Bobby Zamora's move to QPR, although few could have predicted his impact.

Pogrebnyak has netted five goals in his first three Fulham appearances, leading many to ponder why nobody else made a move for the Stuttgart striker.

When asked why other clubs did not take a chance on him, Jol said: "It is very easy. He only scored one in 18 and wasn't always playing.

"In England you want the best and they probably thought he was not good enough for their teams or had other targets.

"He was on my list for the last couple of years and I knew he was the type of player who could fit in with us and we were lucky to get him.

"You have to look at good players who are probably not doing so well at that time.

"Yakubu at Everton was the same and Blackburn got him on the cheap, but he has scored 13 or 14 goals.

"You need a bit of luck but you need to be confident of their quality. That is what Blackburn did and that is what we did with Pavel."

Pogrebnyak looks set to make his fourth appearance for Fulham when they travel to Villa Park on Saturday.

The Cottagers will be without Stephen Kelly, Steve Sidwell and long-term absentee Zdenek Grygera due to injury, although Bryan Ruiz returns from a virus.

Jol revealed Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes is a "big doubt" for the match and suggested recent signing Mahamadou Diarra could make his first start.

"Aaron Hughes has got a little problem with his left calf and withdrew from training," he said. "Hopefully he can be involved but he is a big doubt.

"With Diarra, you could see that he needs a couple of games and it's not easy to say 'play two or three games and get 90 minutes'.

"In training he looks good, he's probably 80% or 90% fit and now it's a decision to make if he starts or let him come on again."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?