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Hodgson relishing thought of Johnson debut

last updated Friday 12th September 2008, 10:14 PM
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is relishing the prospect of record signing Andy Johnson making his debut against Bolton on Saturday.

The £10.5million hitman missed the opening day loss to Hull and then the home victory over Arsenal after arriving at Craven Cottage with a thigh injury.

But the former Everton striker, 27, is now fully fit and Hodgson can not wait to see him play, hopefully pairing him with fellow summer signing Bobby Zamora, acquired for £6million from West Ham.

Zamora has a slight knee problem but if he is fit to play, South Korea international Seol Ki-Hyeon looks like being the man to make way.

Hodgson said: "We've made no secret of the fact that we didn't pay big money for Andy Johnson to come here to put pressure on other players. We bought him to play and we expect other players to put pressure on him.

"Andy has looked very sharp in training and he's extremely excited about making his debut for Fulham and playing again after what has been quite a long absence."

Speaking of the possible Johnson and Zamora partnership, Hodgson added: "They are both good players and one hopes two good players will find the individual form to be a good partnership.

"I'm fairly confident that Zamora and Johnson will prove to be a potent and very effective strikeforce for us and maybe that can begin tomorrow.

"But Bobby has a slight niggle. We are monitoring that situation and haven't made that final decision."

He added: "I've been very pleased with Seol so the competition for places is high.

"We've bought Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson but I'd like to make it clear their places are by no means given because we're quite well blessed with players who can give us different types of balance."

Hodgson had more than half his squad away on World Cup duty with their countries this week.

Midfielder Leon Andreasen, who sustained a groin injury playing in an unaccustomed right-back role for Denmark in their shock 3-2 away win over Portugal, was the only one to return with a doubt over his fitness.

"Leon felt a slight tightening in his groin and we're monitoring that but it's not a major injury problem," Hodgson reported. "We have been very fortunate because a lot of them had long journeys."

Despite claiming Arsenal's scalp already at home, Hodgson insists his side will not be taking Bolton lightly.

"Whether it's Arsenal or Bolton, the level of difficulty remains equally high and we've got to be prepared for what is going to be a very tough encounter," he said.

"We must work very hard and match them in every way and hopefully play as well as we did for long periods against Arsenal.

"We're taking nothing for granted because we were lucky enough to get a good result against Arsenal, because Bolton will come here well prepared."

Source SkySports
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