Martin Jol plays down Bobby Zamora and Mark Hughes factor as Fulham travel to QPR

 

Fulham manager Martin Jol wants the focus to be on defeating west London
rivals QPR rather than coming up against Bobby Zamora and Mark Hughes
for the first time.

The Cottagers have not lost to their near neighbours since 1983 and thrashed them 6-0 earlier in the season.

Zamora scored in the Craven Cottage encounter but has now switched allegiance to QPR, who are under the stewardship of former Fulham boss Hughes.

Both are expected to be the focus of attention from Fulham's visiting fans on Saturday, but manager Jol is only interested in attempting to pick up three points.

"In the first game against QPR you felt the sort of feeling that this was new," the Dutchman said.

"It was a derby game and I feel if you look at the reactions after the game from our fans, it is a big game now and in the future.

"In the past I think it was a good derby game but it is now probably a bigger derby game than Chelsea.

"We have a lot of supporters going there, we focus on that and we will focus on our away form because that is not great. Hopefully we can change that.

"If you look at the form positively, you can say we didn't lose six out of the 12 away games but it is not the best away form.

"Hopefully we can change that and make it a structural thing on winning away."

Asked whether he would prefer the visiting support to focus on Fulham rather than Zamora and Hughes, Jol added: "Of course.

"I mean Bobby deserves praise because he played for us and was a very good servant for the club.

"Hopefully the QPR fans will think the same of him in a few years. I always want to focus our fans on our team."

While Zamora left on transfer deadline day for a fee worth £6million-plus, Jol managed to bring in a replacement in the form of Pavel Pogrebnyak.

The Russia international joined from Stuttgart until the end of the season and made an immediate impact in west London, netting 16 minutes into his debut against Stoke.

Jol feels he will perform a slightly different role to Zamora, though.

"They are both number nines and of course Bobby did a good job for us and hopefully Pavel can do that same," he said.

"He scored on his first game after 16 minutes and hopefully he will continue to do that.

"Bobby is a different player, more of a link-up player, while Pavel wants to be in the box and on the end of crosses.

"Keeping him beyond the end of the season is something for us to think about over the next couple of months.

"Hopefully he will stay as he is and score a few goals for us.

"There is no option on both sides so we will have to wait and see."

There had been fears Pogrebnyak would be unable to feature at Loftus Road after limping off in the second half of the win against Stoke.

However, Jol today revealed he is fit to play and will be joined in the squad by several other players.

"Most the injured players are fit for selection," he said.

"There are two players out, which are Steven Sidwell after a small operation and Zdenek Grygera.

"The rest are fit for selection. Philippe Senderos, Orlando Sa and Andrew Johnson are all back and Pavel is fit."

PA

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