And what an achievement that would be in Hughes first season. Appointed two weeks before the big kick-off with scant opportunity to make signings. Then seeing the team's pivotal figure in your England centre-forward put out of the game with a fractured ankle at the start of September. Bobby has been in the form of his life for the past two seasons - hard to imagine he was on the brink of being shipped out to Hull two summers ago. You wonder just what might have been achieved this season with Zamo in the ranks.
From the visit of Everton on, watching Fulham labour to create chances in attack was initially frustrating, and by Christmas deeply worrying. Clint stepped into the breach and has been outstanding, his 13 goal contribution the difference between Fulham sitting pretty in mid-table or entering 'Showdown Sunday' in the relegation mire. We are, after all, just three wins away from the dead men walking - Wigan, Blackpool and Birmingham.
That we go into the Arsenal game clear of the drop zone is down to a terrific run of form since January, especially at home. The defence has done its job all season. Just 20 goals conceded from away games is an outstanding testament to organisation and discipline. Remember, we have not conceded from the penalty spot all season, and the only penalty given against us was (inevitably) for Man Utd last August in one of the best games of the campaign. Ref Walton on the day had a poor one and was the only man in the ground who saw Duff's unavoidable contact on the ball with his elbow as deliberate. 'Unbelievable Stockers' however was equal to the kick. And the towering Brede made sure we came out of the game with heads held high.
The only missed opportunities to sour Sparky's end of term report I guess would be our failure to go the distance in either of the two Cup campaigns. We started both as well in such a resounding manner, six goals at the Cottage against Port Vale and then Peterborough in January. The latter also saw Fulham's only hat-trick of the season from Jo Kamara, who then ended the season out on loan.
Diomansy and a few others will be heading for the exit door come Monday. The intriguing question for Whites fans between now and next August is who will we add to the roster, and will Hughes stick around for a 2nd season? Much uninformed gossip will litter the tabloids and forums from here on in. Best just to kick back, head for the beach, and see what happens. But I am beginning to wonder why Mark still seems to be holding back on inking that contract. Could he be waiting to see if the Chelsea job is offered? Don't rule it out - he played for the club of course, and has a vocal supporter in Glenn Hoddle, the man who bought him to the Bridge.
As to our own transfer needs. Hughes was pretty vocal at Friday's press conference about who is and who isn't leaving. Says he has no interest in re-signing Konchesky but concedes Salcido will be almost certainly heading home to Mexico. Carlos says his family have been unsettled by a house robbery in London. Ahem, senor, have you seen what's been going down in Monterrey recently? Now dubbed the 'City of Massacres.'
Nothing posted here is going to sway Hughes in his decisions re player movements, so let's waste no more time and move on to looking at Sunday's derby. A good time to be meeting Arsenal? They have injuries and really have lost the plot in the last month. From being title contenders for so long, the ever proud Wenger must be at his wits end to see the team fall away so badly. So is another Fulham home win on the cards to see us end on a real high?
I'd like to think so, but it is so in Fulham's DNA to come up short, just when our expectations are high. I still feel nervous whenever I see the Gunners red emerge from the tunnel against us. They are still a major force, and have held the indian sign over us for half a century. While playing with a makeshift strike force at Highbury last year we might have gained a point with more self-belief - undone by Nasri's genius - but at present Arsenal are looking very beatable.
Our opponents do have plenty to play for if they want to avoid the Champions League qualifying stage though, so we have to be right on top of our game. I'll be bold and predict a 1-0 win for Fulham with Dempsey the match-winner. That would round my season out to perfection!
The club are saying only Dembele and Duff currently require treatment - Baird remains suspended, so maybe we have a strong squad to pick from. I've stopped trusting Sparky though to be straight with the team news, so let's wait and see. Whatever the result, and whoever plays, no doubt we'll all be giving the players a massive salute at the final whistle. They have given their all this season, we're finishing in the top half of the league, and we're heading back into Europe. Following the Fulham...dontcha just love it! Finally, if he's at the ground or not, we gotta send out the LOVE to that great guy, John Pantsil. We will miss you.
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