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Question Time 2: A Fulham v Bolton Wanderers Primer

Things aren't going to well at The Macron Stadium as Dougie Freedman's band of merry men head to Craven Cottage to face a Fulham side in trouble themselves. We now get the perspective of Fulham fan Daniel Austin ahead of what was once a clash for places in the top half of the Premier League

Mike Hewitt

1. How are Fulham finding life in the Championship?

I think everyone will agree that we are finding it a bit more difficult than expected in the Championship. I have found in a number of games we have had plenty of possession but not really done anything with the ball only to get hit by a more direct approach on the counter attack. The squad is very new – I believe that the XI that started the opening game against Ipswich is completely different to the one that started against Sunderland on the opening day last year. With this sort of upheaval it was always going to take a bit of time, although we should not be sat in the position we are now. There are some positive signs of late, we have won our last 2 games, including a good win away at Birmingham so hopefully things are now looking up.

2. Are you glad to see the back of Felix Magath?

You will struggle to find a Fulham fan who is not pleased to see the back of Felix Magath. His reign at Fulham has to be one of the most ruinous in football history. He seemed to completely destroy the fabric of the club and, if the stories which have come out afterwards are true, then it is no surprise he has gone. I was hopeful when he first arrived, given that he has one a few Bundesliga titles in his managerial career, I did not place any blame at his door for our relegation (I thought we were doomed way before he arrived). I was always going to judge him on how he did this season. You always expect to lose a few when you are relegated, although to lose pretty much an entire squad was quite something – It seems he favoured younger players who would be more submissive to his approach. The obvious problem has been the results; I was at the Derby game where we were beaten 5-1, and he seemed to have lost the players – Whatever his message was, it was obviously not getting through. All in all, I am very happy to see the back of Herr Magath.

3. How do you feel about Fulham’s erratic transfer activity and the squad they now have?

I think erratic is an under-statement. It was very disappointing to see the back of some players. According to Danny Murphy, Steve Sidwell, Brede Hangeland and David Stockdale all wanted to stay at the club; how true this is, I don’t know, although we could certainly do with those players at the moment. It was especially disappointing to see Ryan Tunnicliffe and Alex Kacaniklic leave on loan as I felt these two could flourish in the Championship for us. There have been many arrivals, some of whom I feel are beginning to find their feet, for instance, Tim Hoogland is already turning into fans favourite. The big summer signing was of course Ross McCormack.

I feel he has come under some unfair criticism, probably down to the reported transfer fee. For me, he was starved of service in the first few games, which is always going to make his job difficult. Since Kit Symons has taken control and brought Bryan Ruiz and Hugo Rodellega back into the fold, I feel, we have definitely seen more from McCormack, and I do believe he will be a good player for us. All in all, I feel the squad is still short of experience, although does now seem to be gelling and developing. When I look at our squad I think the positon we are in now is a false position and we will soon see Fulham rising up the table.

4. Chances of going up?

Looking at the table now, you would say Fulham have no chance of going up. When asked at the beginning of the season I had, perhaps foolish, hopes of Fulham getting one of the automatic promotion spots. That looks like a long way away at the moment; from the position we are in now, you would have to say we need to consolidate this season and push on next year. The Championship can be a strange division though, and if we put a good run together from now on it, we may just sneak the play-offs. This is, of course, very wishful thinking from where we are sat at the minute.

5. Player Bolton should watch out for?

I was at the game on Saturday against Birmingham and, especially in the second half, I felt our front three of McCormack, Rodellaga and Ruiz looked quite threatening. In my opinion, our best player on Saturday was Lasse Vigen Christensen – he played mainly from the right and provided a good option on that side.

6. Bolton player you would want?

Well, we were strongly linked with Jermaine Beckford on deadline-day; I for one am glad that deal did not go through. Bolton are struggling as much as we are at the moment so I’m struggling to pick a player based on this season's performances. We seem to lack an experienced keeper at the moment (Gabor Kiraly and his tracksuit bottoms have not impressed much, although Marcus Bettenelli has impressed me every time I have seen him) so I might be inclined to say I would like Adam Bogdan at Fulham. I have also been impressed with Joe Mason when I have watched him play – I certainly think the Fulham defence will have to keep an eye out for him.

7. Prediction?

Has to be a home win for me. We are looking for our 3rd straight win in all competitions and confidence should be on the up after our win on Saturday. I will say two-nil to Fulham with Ross McCormack getting in on the goals.