A Fulham view on next season

David Cannon

Following Chris' delightful and slightly provoking piece on recently relegated Fulham, I had a chat with Daniel Austin, a lifelong Scouse Fulham fan and Steve Sidwell impersonator based in Manchester. Dan gives us his thoughts on the season ahead for both Fulham and The Wanderers

Following Chris' delightful and slightly provoking piece on recently relegated Fulham, I had a chat with Daniel Austin, a lifelong Scouse Fulham fan and Steve Sidwell impersonator based in Manchester.

Dan gives us his thoughts on the season ahead for both Fulham and The Wanderers

1) How disappointed are you to be relegated and what are your expectations for next season?

I am very disappointed to be relegated. I am usually a very pessimistic/realistic Fulham fan and have been tipping us for relegation pretty much every season since we got promoted. It was only the start of last season that I was pretty confident going into the season. Signing players like Parker/Bent/Taraabt/Stekelenburg,

I was confident, but the season turned out to be a shambles. For next season, I feel a lot of work is needed- We will undoubtedly lose a lot of players. It is too easy to assume that we will bounce back, although we do have a very good youth set up and many are ready to break into the first team.

We may not get up this season, but the future is not too bleak.

2) Established Premier League sides have found it difficult in recent seasons, can Fulham cope with more physical game in the Football League?

If last season is anything to go by then I think we may struggle with a more physical game. We lost far too many games by being out-fought - A lot will depend on who we buy/sell.

3) Felix Magath has quite a remarkable record but can he get Fulham out of a very competitive division?

I think Felix Magath is a very good manager and has a track record to prove. I certainly do not feel it was his fault we got relegated, the writing was on the wall long before he was appointed.

Although it is a competitive league, I feel he is a manager who demands competitiveness and fitness, so I don't feel we wall fall down in that respect.

4) Magath has identified Fulham's youth players as a real foundation for their promotion effort, do you think they are ready?

Our youth team had a very good season with many players getting first team debuts... Mousa Dembele/Cauley Woodrow/ Patrick Roberts - I also feel players like Dan Burn and Alex Kacaniclic will develop further with more first team action.

I certainly feel that we do have to look to the future - for years we have had a squad with an average age far too high, so I feel Felix is right to put his faith in the youth.

5) Are there any players Wanderers fans should look out for next season?

I feel our best young player is Patrick Roberts, although it may be a little early for him. Cauley Woodrow had a decent end to last season, and by all accounts is doing well for England under 20's this summer.

With a regular starting position he can really flourish.

6) What do you make of Bolton's chances of promotion next year and have the club been wise to stick with Dougie Freedman?

I feel Bolton's target has to be the playoff's. From what I hear they may lose a few players in the summer also, with the need to trim the wage bill. The Championship is a pretty strange division though where a team can come from nowhere (Burnley last year).

It is a big season for Dougie Freedman, and I fear for him if he has a difficult start to the season. I would like to say that the club have been right to stick with him, although the pressure to be competing at the top level again requires results.

Another season like last and I can't see him in his job long.

7) Are there any players in the Wanderers side you would like to see in a Fulham shirt?

Well I certainly would not want Zat Knight back. Admittedly I have not kept too close an eye on Bolton since their relegation. I used to rate Stuart Holden really highly, although I believe he has been plagued by injury. I was also a fan of Chung-Yong Lee, again I have not seen much of him in the last couple of years.

8) Finally, where do you think Fulham and more importantly Fulham will finish next season?

I think for Fulham we have to be aiming to bounce right back with automatic promotion, at the least we need to be in the play-offs. For Bolton Wanderers, I think that top half would be an ok season, but the aim has to be to get in the play-offs also.

Dan occasionally speaks some sense in Football-related matter and is worth a follow @DanielAustin16

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