Fulham-West Brom Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

The chaos continues at Fulham Football Club, who this Saturday will travel to the Midlands with yet another new manager to face West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

Struggling Fulham (6-2-18) slumped to the bottom of the Premier League after Rene Meulensteen took over from Martin Jol at the start of the December, but it still came as a slight surprise when the club confirmed the appointment of veteran German manager Felix Magath last week, before taking a further week to decide on the future of the massed ranks of assistant coaches on the payroll of the London club.

The new manager will take over a club four points from safety, but Magath has a strong history of success in the game, with a notoriously physical approach to training and three Bundesliga titles on his CV - including a first ever German title for Wolfsburg in 2009.

"We have to change the atmosphere at the club and we had to do that immediately," said Magath, who will be without the sacked coaching trio of Meulensteen, Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins. "I don't care about what has happened. I have been here since Friday. I have seen where we are in the table and I have to see where it can be improved. I don't care about other managers. I have my way of playing.

"Now we are in a serious situation. In the next few months we have a lot of work to avoid relegation. The first days here were very positive and very good, and I am sure that we will avoid relegation.

"I am very glad to be here in England, where football comes from. I look forward to have the same success here as I had in Germany."

West Brom (4-12-10) go into Saturday's game just one place outside of the relegation zone and only four points above their last-placed visitors. The Baggies have lost just three of their last ten matches and have seen an impressive change of style since the arrival of new manager Pepe Mel, but captain Chris Brunt knows that his team need to start beating their other relegation-threatened sides if they are to avoid the drop.

"Saturday is a big game," said Brunt. "It's important that we begin doing better in our home games because we haven't done overly well in them this season. That said, the last three home matches have been good results against teams who are doing well.

"It's important we follow that up with a win against a team who are down and around us. That's where we're letting ourselves down at the minute. We're struggling against the teams that are down there with us."

West Brom have injury doubts over Claudio Yacob (hamstring), Billy Jones (knee), Jonas Olsson (hamstring) and Stephane Sessegnon (groin), while Nicolas Anelka remains out with a calf problem. Fulham's may have increased fitness concerns since the arrival of the famously tough Magath, but already had injury doubts over Martin Stekelenburg (eye), Fernando Amorebieta (knee) and Konstantinos Mitroglou (knee) prior to the arrival of the German boss.

It was a 1-1 draw when these teams met earlier in the season, with Steve Sidwell putting Fulham up and Gareth McAuley levelling things up in the 92nd minute.

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