Know Your Opponent: Fulham FC

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Clint Dempsey of Fulham celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and West Ham United at Craven Cottage on May 2, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Today, I had a chat with Russell Goldman, the man behind SBNation's Fulham blog, Cottagers Confidential. Just like I did with Kirsten from 7500 to Holte, we asked each other questions and the half of the conversation where he answered my questions about Fulham appears below. Later today, Russell will post the other half of our conversation where I answer his questions about Spurs.

Kevin McCauley: Two of your strikers, Andy Johnson and Moussa Dembele, are both questionable for tomorrow's game. Do you think either of them will start, and if they aren't healthy, what will the lineup look like?

Russell Goldman: Dembele has been back training this week. He could be a game time decision. Andy Johnson could be back as well, but I don't know if he will be starting. If they can't go I would expect to see Diomansy Kamara and Eddie Johnson at the striker positions.

KM:  Does this mean Clint Dempsey will play in the center of midfield, on the wing, or will he start on the bench?

RG: I think he will be on the wing. I don't expect him to be on the bench. He is best on the wing.

KM: What do you think has been the biggest difference in the team's style of play under Mark Hughes versus the way they played under Roy Hodgson?

RG: The biggest difference is that Fulham are much more attacking now. On the road especially they would sit back and play for the draw under Hodgson. With Hughes they are pushing forward the entire match.

KM: That's very interesting, since Mark Hughes has a reputation as a fairly defensive manager who likes to play for draws. Based on Fulham's results so far, someone who hasn't watched them yet might assume that was still the case, but it sounds like Hughes has this team playing a more ambitious style of football than he usually played with Blackburn.

RG: It is normal to see all the draws and think Fulham are playing defensively. In Fulham's games though that just hasn't been the case. It is a new style and I think that has more to do with them drawing.

KM: What have you thought of new signing Carlos Salcido? I was always a fan of his play with Chivas de Guadalajara, the Mexican national side, and PSV and I'm surprised that it took until he was 30 years old for him to move to one of the so-called "big five" leagues.

RG: I am very impressed with Salcido. He has been an upgrade over Paul Konchesky.He has given Fulham an additional element in scoring chances. His crosses in the box are tremendous. Fulham are lucky to have him.

KM: What do you make of the Mark Schwartzer transfer saga? It seems like he's struggled since coming back into the side. I feel like David Stockdale should be starting if Schwartzer doesn't want to be there and doesn't have his head 100% in the game.

RG: Mark Schwazer has come around the last two matches. In fact against Everton he was a big reason Fulham did not lose that match. The transfer saga with Schwarzer was disappointing this summer. However, If he doesn't want to stay than I say grant his wish as long as Fulham have a very good replacement. I am very high on Stockdale. I would be fine if Stockdale was the number one keeper.

KM: For me, the most impressive Fulham player to start the season has been Dickson Etuhu, just because of how much he seemingly improved in the offseason. I always thought of him as just a defensive midfielder but he's become a true box-to-box, two-way player.

RG: I couldn't agree with you more. I actually mentioned that in my preview that Etuhu is a key to this match. Under Hodgson he was just a defensive midfielder, but under Hughes he is given the freedom to come up. Again this is an example of the different styles between Hodgson and Hughes.

KM: Finally, how do you think the match will play out and what is your prediction for the score?

RG: I would be more confident for Fulham if I knew that Moussa Dembele would be playing. I think it is going to be a more wide open match than previous games between the clubs. However, the defenses are good enough to limit goals. Since it is at Craven Cottage I will go with Fulham winning 1-0.

Look for the second half of this conversation on Cottagers Confidential later today.

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