Taking on the leaders after a turbulent week will be a real test of character. Only one defeat on our last eight trips to Citeh though, just don't mention our away form to date.
Or the absence of any strikers in the side. Talk about self-inflicted wounds ahead of your toughest game of the season. Mancini's men may have gone off the boil in the past month, but I fancy them to come through their blip and take the title ahead of that other side in Manchester. Following their loss at Everton mid-week the Blues will surely relish the chance to get stuck into our boys. Do I need to point out our hosts home record this season sees eleven wins from eleven -34 scored and six conceded.
Could our prospects look any blacker, bearing in mind we are forced into repeating Wednesday's 4-6-0 formation with either no international clearance or a work permit having yet arrived for Pogrebnyak depending on which report you care to believe. There's one statement to come out in the last three days I am having real trouble coming to terms with though. Martin Jol gave a version of Bobby's transfer to the local paper which seeks to downplay the whole issue. Jol intimates Bobby was the man who'd made it plain from early in January he wanted away. Jol states the club anticipated Zamora's departure. Really? Our gaffer's sense of anticipation hadn't sadly translated into actually securing a decent replacment for two vital league games. Expecting points from Eastlands (can't recall their sponsored name) was maybe optimistic, but in the list of must win home games that will see us to safety West Brom clearly is two points dropped.
One manager Wednesday gambled with a sub to see his side wrest a point from the Whites. The other maintained his usual stony faced demeanour, making no changes, nor interacting at any point with his managerial assistants. I know which character I'd rather have in charge of my Fulham team. I've been taking some heat from other forums for being 'on Jol's case from day one.' I only report what I see. The fact that this site took more responses than our mailbox could cope with this week over Zamora's transfer suggests plenty of strong opinion on how our club is being run. Heading up to Manchester with not a single new player from the transfer window, while jettisoning a player of international quality - and a striker at that - tells me someone at FFC is not joining up all the dots. You make your own mind up who is to blame.
I was strumming last night with the Cajun Jammers, where one of our guitarists is a Rangers season ticket holder. Being a gentleman, he refrained from gloating over Hughes spending spree. Perhaps because I was giving him a lift home on a freezing night. There can be no doubt however the mantle of 'ambition' in West London has clearly shifted over to Shepherds Bush, and maybe Sparky was justified in walking out last May? It's one thing garnering a crop of exciting kids, but how many teenage prospects actually make the grade? And until we're past the 40 point mark, surely the overriding priority is fixing all the holes in the team currently taking the pitch on matchdays. We have now lost the ability to close up at the back, and against that injury-weakened West Brom side to let them back in the other night was poor.
And I haven't even mentioned the plan to give AJ a new long term deal? I am really struggling not to come across with another downbeat blog, and we all know supporting Fulham demands a large dose of pragmatism, hope and a twisted sense of the absurd, but having been euphoric after the Arsenal game we've been hit by our defeat at Blackburn, surrender in the Cup at Everton and now the loss of Bobby Zamora, compounded by no signings. It is hard not to feel like a punchbag at present.
Now all it needs to send me off to the funny farm is for Fulham to win at City...COYW!