Match Preview: Fulham in London could be a tricky place to continue the bounce back

I touched on what I'm about to suggest earlier in the week, but it was more like a work related bit of flirting that could be passed off as an accident if necessary but this time, they'll be no mistaking this as work related sexual harassment and whoever did it, male or female, would probably lose their job.

I know I've gone off the rails a bit there, but I think we've got to shake it all up for this match and I've got a really good reason and it appears others are aware of it, but I accept as always, that some will disagree, but I see more positives for it than negatives.


Gabby spoke about burning out yesterday and while I was going to post about it at the time Gabby did throw in a line about not complaining, because the likes of Gerrard and Lampard did it. If it were me, I'd have said something like, I can't complain because I get paid shit loads of cash and at the end of the day I'd go to war for my football club and probably take a bullet for it.

But Gabby is different to me, but the fear remains. Come the start of next season, poor Gabby could have played football for nearly a year, well, actually eleven months but those eleven months could add up to about 75 games for him, which is just over, by a fraction, one and a half games a week.

I'm sorry, but this burnout fear, while I accept it is possible for people like you and me, if we were running 15 miles a week, who don't have these multi-million pound training and recuperation facilities, specialists on hand to handle our diet, people employed specifically to help our bodies remain at the peak of fitness, but for a 22 year old to come out talking about with all these things at his finger tips and other players in the same league actually doing what he talks about, I don't think it's an issue and if it is, then sack the people that are supposed to be keeping him at the peak of physical fitness and get news ones in that can do it.

Sorry about that. While I don't believe it is an issue that we should all pander too, I also accept that it will have an impact over time. Ryan Giggs recently spoke about not having to play every other summer as a reason why he has been able to play at the top level for so long, so I accept that there may be some long term effects to it, but for a 22 year old to come out talking about 'burn out' is laughable.

But, if it is a concern, drop him. What honestly do we have we got to play for this weekend or for the rest of the season? If Martin O'Neill comes out and says he's dropping some players to give them a rest, so they can better prepare them for next season, even if we finish sixth, it's not going to have an impact on who we can buy. In fact, we could play our strongest team until the end and still finish sixth and if the argument of attracting better players is used for finishing 5th, then surely it will be a negative impact on finishing sixth with our best players?

I really am sorry for going on. For those of you who read my post earlier in the week, you'll know my views on this, but they're raised because of who we are playing and all the 'positive' talk this week. Basically I fancy Fulham will beat us if we play the same team we've played the last few weeks.

My village Sunday league team, which were so bad they stopped entering the league two season ago, would have beaten Hull, but I said that in my preview post. But I fancied draws in the previous two matches and that is what we got, simply because the teams we were playing were teams we were never going to beat.

But with Fulham, who have such a good home record, while I'm not predicting results any more, I fancy we'll get beaten or struggle for anything, if we go out with the same team and I think that will have more of a negative impact on the supporters than going there with quite a few kids and losing - because we will have reasons for it, which are all positive.

Going to Fulham with our best team, to use an example that Martin O'Neill will understand, is like going to Moscow with our best team; pointless. Unless he is that desperate to finish one place higher for the money. But I am sure some will have an opinion on that which is different to mine.

But to the Fulham match. Marky Mark is predicting an away win and I'd love him to be right, because I fancy an away win will secure us fifth, because we'll beat Newcastle on the last game of the season to send them down and Everton will drop points between now and then, especially as they gear up for the FA Cup Final, although it won't be intentional.

But Fulham, as I've said, have a better home record than we have away record, which is something. They've won as many games as home as Chelsea and Arsenal have and if we had won as many at home, we'd be in fourth place now. They've also go the fourth best defence in the Premier League, which is no easy achievement.

Fulham are also playing for something and just like how Everton might drop points because they've got one eye on the FA Cup Final, we might lose this game, simply because we don't have as much to play for. It's not something you would normally associate with a Martin O'Neill team, but it's also not something you would associate with a David Moyes team, but you can see it happening.

Bottom line, it's going to be tough, which all games are, I accept, but it's going to be tougher than normal as our season is over, if not in the mid of the players, it is in the heart.

While I fancy we could get beaten, if I were a betting man, I'd put money on a draw. I can't see us beating them, but I can see John Carew scoring, because well, that is what he is doing now, but Fulham have drawn quite a few matches too, but if that is all we get, a draw at Fulham, despite how good they've been at home this season, it really isn't great is it. I so want a 3-0 away win.