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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK

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Fulham v Man City

Craven Cottage
Saturday, 16 April
Kick-off: 1500 BST




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Fulham's Claus Jensen misses the game after being sent off against Bolton.

Papa Bouba Diop (hamstring) is out as is Sylvain Legwinski (thigh strain). But Mark Pembridge (calf) and Ian Pearce (hip) return to the squad.

Manchester City welcome back Shaun Wright-Phillips after a seven-week absence caused by a knee operation.

He may be on the bench, as Stuart Pearce sticks with a winning side - which means Ben Thatcher and Steve McManaman could also be substitutes.





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Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Bocanegra, Goma, Pearce, Knight, Rosenior, Malbranque, Clark, Cole, Boa Morte, Pembridge, Volz, John, Radzinski, McBride, Crossley.


Man City (from): James, Weaver, Mills, Onouha, Dunne, Distin, Sommeil, Jordan, Thatcher, Croft, Bosvelt, S Wright-Phillips, McManaman, Reyna, Flood, Barton, Sibierski, Musampa, Fowler, Macken, B Wright-Phillips.



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Fulham defender Moritz Volz:
"We had a hard game up there on the first day of the season [1-1 draw] - they attack very well.
"But at home we'll be looking to get the win and get the three points.

"We'll get chances. We've got players like Luis Boa Morte, Andy Cole and Steed Malbranque who can create things. We're positive that we can do the job."


Man City boss Stuart Pearce:
"When we went to Tottenham in my first game, players were happy to be brought off for a rest after 75 minutes.
"But our character has got stronger since then.

"I don't see anyone looking at the bench anymore and saying I have a slight knock I want to come off.

"The players are fighting for places, they want to play and that can only be a good thing for the club."




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BIG-MATCH FACTS


FULHAM go into this home match against mid table Manchester City, two places and six points above the danger line, but with a game in hand on their rivals. The Cottagers still have to visit Chelsea and host Everton, as well as trips to Middlesbrough and Blackburn and a home game against Newcastle before finishing the season with a clash against Norwich at Craven Cottage.

Chris Coleman selects a Fulham Premiership side for the 75th time. The 3-1 victory over Portsmouth in their last home match was the Cottagers' only win in seven League outings. They are still on their lowest ever points return to this stage of a Premier League season.

Fulham are yet to beat Manchester City in the Premier League - their last three meetings have been drawn. Collins John cancelled out Robbie Fowler's overhead kick in the reverse fixture in August, which ended 1-1. The Cottagers last beat City on 14 August 1998, when they recorded a 3-0 triumph in the third tier at Craven Cottage. They've not enjoyed a top tier victory against them for 39 years, since a 4-1 success by the Thames on 26 November 1966.

MANCHESTER CITY are looking to record back to back victories for only the second time this season, having achieved their first maximum under caretaker Stuart Pearce last weekend in his third match in charge, and first at home. Kiki Musampa's spectacular 90th minute volley didn't only dent Liverpool's hopes of finishing fourth, it enhanced the chances of the fans favourite of being given job permanently.

There's little hinging on this match for City, save a possible place in the top half. They're scored just one more goal than Fulham, yet find themselves five places and seven points better off in the table. At the other end, the Citizens have conceded 15 fewer goals. Should this match finish level, it will be the Mancunians' 1,000th League draw.

City were bidding to go top of the table when they last played away to Fulham. In the end they were fortunate to scrape a 2-2 draw on 20 September 2003, thanks to Paulo Wanchope's equaliser three minutes into injury time.


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Referee:

Neale Barry (Lincolnshire)


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SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM

FULHAM


Club stats
Fixtures
16th 33 points
Highest achievable: 14th
Lowest could fall: 16th

Won one of the last six in all competitions.
Not won in six of the last seven Premiership matches.
Drawn six Premiership matches this season. Only Liverpool have finished level less often (five games).
Lost 16 games in the highest echelon. Only two clubs have lost more - Norwich (17) and Crystal Palace (18).
Conceded the opening goal 20 times in top flight matches this term - only Norwich (23) have allowed the opposition to score first more often.
Lost the lead only four times in top flight games this term. No club has surrendered the advantage less often.
Third bottom in the Premiership's "Last Six Current Form" table with four points from the 18 available.
Conceded more penalties than any other club in Premiership matches this season, with the exception of Newcastle (seven each).

Undefeated in seven home games in all competitions.
Won five and drawn two League and Cup matches at the Cottage since losing by the odd goal in five to Birmingham in the Premiership on 28 December.
Lost six home highest League duels. Only Crystal Palace (eight) and Norwich (seven) have lost more.
Scored 19 home goals in the top table. Only West Brom (14), Crystal Palace (15) and Manchester City (18) have netted on fewer occasions in front of the home faithful.
Conceded 22 top flight goals at Craven Cottage. Only Norwich (31) and Newcastle (24) have shipped more home goals in the highest division.
MANCHESTER CITY


Club stats
Fixtures
11th 40 points
Highest achievable: 10th
Lowest could fall: 13th

Won one of the last four - all Premiership.
Recorded two wins in nine top flight outings.
Gone 17 games since achieving back to back victories in the highest League.

Failed to win seven of the last eight away matches in all competitions.


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KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES

FULHAM


Squad profiles

If he plays, Sylvain LEGWINSKI will be making his 150th appearance for Fulham.
Should he take part, LEGWINSKI will be making his 300th appearance across the European Leagues. He played 135 times for AS Monaco, 49 for Girondins Bordeaux and so far has made 115 League appearances for Fulham).
Should he figure, Brian McBRIDE will be making his 50th appearance for the Cottagers.
Suspended: Claus JENSEN
MANCHESTER CITY


Squad profiles

If he plays, keeper David JAMES will be making his 50th Premiership appearance for Manchester City.
If involved from kick off, Paul BOSVELT will be making his 50th Premiership start for the Citizens.


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LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME:
Fulham 2-2 Manchester City
20 September 2003 - Ref: Phil Dowd
Fulham scorers: Malbranque 73, Saha 79
Man City scorers: Anelka 46, Wanchope 90



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THIS SEASON'S REVERSE FIXTURE:
Manchester City 1-1 Fulham
14 August 2004 - Ref: Matt Messias
Man City scorer: Fowler 28
Fulham scorer: John 56



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HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
League: Fulham 11 wins, Man City 19, Draws 9
Prem: Fulham 0 wins, Man City 2, Draws 3

HEAD TO HEAD at Fulham
League: Fulham 8 wins, Man City 6, Draws 5
Prem: Fulham 0 wins, Man City 1, Draws 1
 

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I predict 2-0 Musampa, Sibierski. City will be inspired by Wright-Philips comeback. I hope he plays from the start. City will probably not risk him from the start though.
 

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Bah, we drew, but it feels like a loss having led. Strange decision by Pearce to bring SWP on for Robbie, I'd have prefered BWP on, as he can hold up the ball well. Not seen it yet to comment on the match however. Listened to the second half on GMR and was not really interesting, seemed like Fulham deserved something out of it
 
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