Fulham will be targeting a London derby win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to boost their chances of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.
Felix Magath's Fulham (9-3-22) have won back-to-back games to move within two points of safety with four games remaining. A win over fellow Londoners Tottenham on Saturday would heap pressure on the group of clubs just above the drop zone, and Magath revealed he has turned to midfielder Lewis Holtby - on loan at the Cottagers from Tottenham - for tips to beat the Lilywhites.
"I always ask the players - John Heitinga against Everton and now Lewis against Tottenham," said Magath, in a thinly veiled mocking of an appeal by fellow relegation strugglers Cardiff against perceived "cheating" in the build-up to a game against Crystal Palace earlier in the season. "Sure I ask Lewis how he sees the situation, how a certain player is, but it is not the only one kind of information I will get. I try to get all the information I can get. I'll try also to get any information from Tottenham for Saturday.
"It is always a problem if you are not careful with information. I think Tottenham will also try to get information from us, you cannot blame anyone for trying to do that."
Tim Sherwood's Tottenham (18-6-10) have slipped well off the pace in the race for European qualification, with last weekend's 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion making it just three wins in their last eight league games. Sherwood's side went 3-0 down in that draw with West Brom, conceding twice in the opening five minutes - the latest in a number of capitulations over the course of this disjointed season.
In a further blow to the morale of Spurs fans, former Tottenham star Gareth Bale produced a sensational moment to win the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, and Sherwood suggested had the club kept the Welshman - rather than replacing him with seven new signings - they would now be challenging for the title.
"That is business as usual for Gareth Bale," Sherwood said. "We saw what he did last year: 21 goals and nine assists. He scored the winner in eight games.
"We could do with that now, by the way. If you put those points that he accumulated for us on top of what we have got we would probably be challenging for the title. The two best players on the pitch in the Copa del Rey final were Gareth Bale and Luka Modric (another former Spurs star), and that says everything."
Tottenham have injury doubts over Mousa Dembele (hip), Sandro (calf), Michael Dawson (hamstring), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin) and Erik Lamela (back), while Fulham have concerns over the fitness of Kostas Mitroglou (knee) and Damien Duff (knee).
On-loan Holtby will be unavailable for the Cottagers.
Spurs rallied to beat Fulham 2-1 when these teams met at Craven Cottage in December. Ashkan Dejagah scored early in the second half, but goals from centre-back Vlad Chiriches - who was taken off at halftime in the draw with the Baggies - and Holtby earned the Lilywhites the three points.
Tottenham have won seven of their last eight league meetings with Fulham, who posted that win last season 1-0 at White Hart Lane on a goal by former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Lewis Holtby
- Felix Magath
- Gareth Bale