Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque is in line for
a recall against Blackburn on Saturday after showing
sufficient remorse for last weekend's tantrum.
| Steed Malbranque
Malbranque stormed out of Craven Cottage after discovering
he had not even won a place on the bench against Everton,
a match Fulham won 2-0 to guarantee their Barclays Premiership
The French playmaker was paying the price for another
dip in form in what has been a disappointing season
for the 25-year-old and his reaction raised doubts over
his future at the club.
But his appearance in the dressing room during Wednesday
night's 3-1 defeat by Newcastle - he had been omitted
once again - and his attitude in training have persuaded
boss Chris Coleman last weekend's drama would not be
He said: "Steed was in the team meeting on Wednesday
before the game even though he knew on Tuesday he wouldn't
be in the squad. I wasn't happy with his reaction to
being dropped against Everton.
"But on Wednesday he was shaking everyone's
hand and came in to see the lads at half-time. He walked
into training with a smile on his face and that's important.
He's got his head down and worked hard this week.
"Steed has a big future with us and he could
be back in the squad for Saturday. He's a tremendously
gifted player who can dismantle teams on his own - when
he's at 100%."
Coleman explained the reasons for Malbranque's dip
in form but declared he is only one of a number of players
who have not been pulling their weight at Craven Cottage
He said: "It has been hard for Steed. He missed
most of pre-season with an injury, then got back and
did his ankle at Christmas.
"His wife has given birth and I know from experience
that when your first child comes along it turns your
world upside down.
"People don't see that - they just see him out
on the pitch for 90 minutes. He will be the first to
hold his hand up and say he hasn't been the same as
last season. But he's not the only one.
"There have been one or two players making too
many excuses as far as I'm concerned. But I'll sort
that out in the summer."