Stephen Kelly keen to defy wrist break for Fulham finale

 

Fulham's Stephen Kelly is hoping to end the season in style before turning his attention to Euro 2012 – even if he has to end it playing in a cast over the wrist he broke in the Cottagers' impressive 1-1 draw with Chelsea earlier this month.

Fulham have enjoyed an impressive season under Martin Jol and currently lie ninth in the Premier League, within reach of a record-equalling seventh-place finish. They have secured 10 points from their last four matches and Ireland defender Kelly is looking for more before he switches his focus to the European Championship.

"If we can continue our good form, and the good performances that we have been putting in, then there's no reason why we can't get to 50 points and then build on that," he said.

"We'll be looking to finish in the top eight, which is definitely achievable with the points we're on and the games coming up. Then once the season has finished, I'll have an eye on the Euros.

"It's a major tournament and I'm so lucky and so privileged to be involved – I can't wait for that to start. The season is coming to a close and having that to look forward to is amazing."

Dublin-born Kelly, now 28, is enjoying his best season for Fulham since joining from Birmingham on a free transfer in 2009. He has made more than 30 appearances this term, but missed last Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Wigan with the wrist injury he picked up in the derby draw with Chelsea – the only game Fulham have not taken maximum points from since last month's 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

"It was obviously disappointing to miss the game," he said. "Things have been going really well recently and I've been enjoying my football. Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm back playing. I sustained a slight break to my wrist but it's something that I can hopefully get over and play with a cast on it.

"I got through the match against Chelsea and finished the game after it happened in the first half so that's a good sign and, fingers crossed, I'll be back soon. I'll be looking to get back into training this week and get the confidence built up again.

"It's a matter of getting back into training and hopefully it will feel good and I'll be available at the weekend for the game against Everton."

Newcastle United, meanwhile, seem set to lose two key players to the Olympic tournament this summer. The Senegal Football Association president, Augustin Senghor, yesterday confirmed that Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé were in line to be selected. The national coach, Alou Cissé, said after Monday's play-off win over Oman in Coventry that he was still considering whether to draft in reinforcements to an already impressive Under-23 squad.

However, after today's draw, which confirmed Senegal as Great Britain's first opponents, at Old Trafford on 25 July, Senghor sounded more definite.

"If we can strengthen our young team with famous players from great championships like the Premier League, we should," he said. "We need top scorers like Papiss Cissé. If you leave players like that at home, it is a big mistake."

Neither Cissé nor Ba has been contacted yet, but Senghor is certain they would not turn down an invitation.

"If we call them, they will come," he said. "It is a privilege to participate in the Olympic Games. There are many great players who regret not playing in the Olympics. They are patriotic guys. They will come if we ask. Also, it will be a very good thing for them to play against their colleagues in England. It will create a lot of focus around the game and the stadium will be full."

There was some encouraging news for Newcastle fans yesterday when it was reported that the Netherlands left-back Erik Pieters would be interested in joining the Magpies this summer.

The 23-year-old PSV Eindhoven defender – who is currently sidelined with a foot injury – has been linked with a summer switch to Tyneside and although it is understood there has been no formal approach as yet, the idea is already interesting Pieters.

"He was interested last year," said the player's agent, Piet van der Pol. "Newcastle United is a fantastic club and I know that Erik follows them because of his friendship with [the goalkeeper] Tim Krul. If they come in for Erik of course he will be interested in talking to them, but right now the main thing that he is focused on is getting fit for Euro 2012."

Pieters was a target for Newcastle last season after the departure of Jose Enrique, but delays in the deal led to the Magpies signing Davide Santon instead. However, Pieters' ability to play centre-half as well as left-back has meant the club kept their interest alive.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015