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Cookie Coleman faces FC Haka

last updated Saturday 06th July 2002, 12:22 PM
Fulham defender Chris Coleman is set to return to the Fulham team for their Intertoto Cup match against Finnish club FC Haka on Saturday.

The Welsh international defender missed the whole of last season as he worked his way back to fitness following a car crash.

Fulham Captain Cookie Coleman
Fulham Captain Cookie Coleman expected to play against FC Haka
But he is now ready to resume his career and is expected to start against FC Haka.

Coleman's re-appearance would be a massive boost for the Fulham fans as the club chases one of three places in the UEFA Cup through the feeder competition.

The squad have spent the past week in an Exeter training camp in preparation for the match.

With the exception of Lee Clark, who is still recovering from a calf operation and Luis Boa Morte, coach Jean Tigana will have a full compliment of players to pick from.

Haka were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool last season, beaten 9-1 on aggregate.

They currently lie fourth in their league and defeated Yugoslavian club Obilic in the last round of the Intertoto Cup.

Haka, however, will again be without star striker Valeri Popovitch due to his fear of flying.

The 32-year-old Russian is the club's top scorer with seven goals in 12 matches this season.

Coach Olli Huttunen remains upbeat about their chances against Fulham. "We fared well in Yugoslavia without Popovitch. He shouldn't be taxed with tough trips," he said.

"We have a strong squad at the moment so we will manage without him."

Craven Cottage will host tomorrow's game and the third round tie - if Fulham progress - with capacity being cut to 7,500 with only the seated areas being used.

The ground is about to be redeveloped with the club playing at QPR'S Loftus Road stadium next season.
The winner of the second-round tie will meet Greek side Aegaelo in the third round.
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