Martin Jol wishes Bobby Zamora well – after tonight's derby

 

The Fulham manager, Martin Jol, insists he has no regrets about losing striker Bobby Zamora to Queen's Park Rangers, who visit Craven Cottage this evening.

Zamora, who moved across west London in January last year after falling out with Jol, has been passed fit to face his former club after suffering from niggling injuries all season. Reading's defeat to Arsenal on Saturday has lifted Harry Redknapp's side off the foot of the Premier League table for the first time since December and despite their differences in the past, Jol admitted former England striker Zamora could play a key role in Rangers' effort to avoid relegation.

"Bobby wanted to move," Jol said yesterday. "He felt he could help QPR. Hopefully, after our game, he will help them. If he is fit he can help any team because he is a good striker. When he played he did ever so well but he missed 30 or 40 per cent of the games. If he was fit he was selected for the national team.

"He has got all the qualities, but when Bobby was not there we had a problem up front and that is why we changed it; now we have Bryan Ruiz and Hugo Rodallega and Dimitar Berbatov and most of the time they are fit to select.

"Don't forget, Bobby wanted that move and at the time we had [Pavel] Pogrebnyak, who scored six goals in five games, so everybody was happy. Bobby was happy with his move and we were happy with Pogrebnyak."

After they beat Tottenham Hotspur in their last outing to move into the top half of the table, the pressure of a relegation battle is unlikely to affect Fulham this season. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer's save in the final minute to deny Jermain Defoe an equaliser was instrumental in that triumph and even though he celebrates his 41st birthday in October, Jol sees no reason why the Australian cannot continue to perform at the highest level.

"He can go on for the next one or two years but it's not like he is 22 and has another 10 years left in him," said Jol. "But how old are goalkeepers? If you look for evidence of them being 44 to 45, I can't see it. So 40 is quite remarkable. They [Australia] will go to the World Cup and he wants to be there. He will be 42 and then he will come back to us, hopefully."

Jol believes Fulham require two wins to guarantee survival and expects a fierce scrap with QPR, who are fighting for their Premier League lives, having seen Wigan move seven points clear of them on Saturday after beating Norwich. "They are desperate for three points – and we can use them as well," said Jol.

Probable teams. Kick-off 8pm. TV Sky Sports 1. Odds: Fulham Evens Draw 5-2 QPR 11-4. Referee L Probert (South Gloucs).

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