David Stockdale, an emerging 24-year-old goalkeeper with one previous Premier League appearance behind him before the start of the new season, may yet fall victim to the goalkeeper merry-go-round that appears likely in the remaining weeks of the summer transfer window.
But, in the short term, Mark Hughes and Fulham should feel relief the Yorkshireman remains at their beck and call as the new manager tries to negotiate his way through the delicate situation regarding Mark Schwarzer.
The Australian was left out at the Reebok Stadium after failing a pre-match fitness test, a fate that also befell defender Paul Konchesky, currently being heavily linked with a possible move to Liverpool. Hughes insisted there was no ulterior motive behind either absence, but the fact remains that Schwarzer is still expected to be an Arsenal player before the end of the month.
Logic, not to mention necessity, dictate that Hughes will sign a senior replacement for Schwarzer should that happen and he need look no further than his former club Manchester City, and the displaced Shay Given, for one potential successor, even if only on a loan basis.
"I feel excited to have played, done well and, hopefully, given the manager a dilemma," said Stockdale after a pair of second-half saves from Johan Elmander assured his team of a point. "If Mark goes, I fully expect Fulham to bring in another goalkeeper and that would be the right thing to do. I just hope I've shown the gaffer that I'm capable of doing a job for him and given him something to think about."
Despite being denied by the goalkeeper, Elmander continued his rehabilitation under manager Owen Coyle. The Swedish international, signed two years ago at a cost of £10m, has scored just eight goals in 56 league games for Bolton, but his improved form and fitness in the closing weeks of last season and at the start of this suggest that record will soon be improved.
"I've said to him it is a fresh start," said Coyle. "I have belief in him and he looked a top player today. If I see him put in that level of performance after an international break, it augurs well for the rest of the season."
Bolton 4-4-2: Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Lee, Muamba (M Davies 86), Holden, Petrov (Taylor 86); K Davies, Elmander (Klasnic 89) Substitutes not used Bodgan, Ricketts, Blake, O'Brien
Fulham 4-4-1-1: Stockdale; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly; S Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff; Gera (Dempsey 74); Zamora. Substitutes not used Zuberbühler, Baird, Stoor, Dempsey, Riise, Greening, Elm
Booked Gera, Zamora, Pantsil.
Referee JS Attwell (Warwickshire).
Man of the match Elmander.Reuse content