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Jol looks for another win over NSI Runavik

last updated Friday 08th July 2011, 2:12 PM

Fulham manager Maarten Jol
Fulham manager
Maarten Jol
Maarten Jol
Fulham boss Martin Jol got his Fulham tenure off to a successful start when his team won 3-0 in the first leg, and anything less than another victory in the return fixture will be considered a shock.

If the rest of the Europa League campaign goes like this, the Dutchman will be happy. His team are easing back to action and getting into the habit of winning.

There is also an element of team bonding by travelling into the unknown for many players and boarding the plane to the Faroe Islands to play NSI.

Jol picked a strong line-up in the first leg so he is clearly serious about using the competition to assess his squad and get them as fit as possible heading into the Premier League season.

The players can also use the match as a chance to impress the Dutchman, with players such as Stephen Kelly looking on his way out of the club before the new appointment to take over from Mark Hughes.

There will be just another six matches before the group stages if Fulham protect their lead. Jol will be happy about the early start to the season should those matches end in victory.

Key Match-up: Christian Hogni Jacobsen v Danny Murphy: Jacobsen is an attacking player but started in central midfield in the first leg. He will be attempting to drag NSI back into the tie with his creativity. Murphy, the Fulham captain, will be looking to control the central area of the pitch and pass with the intelligence he consistently shows.

Form Guide: Fulham only have the first leg as a yardstick of their form. NSI are fourth in their domestic league and drew against B71 Sandoy before this tie.

Fulham captain Murphy remains wary of an embarrassing defeat, despite the scoreline from the first leg.

"It's a difficult one at 3-0," Murphy told fulhamfc.com. "If it was five it would probably be easier. I would expect one or two of the young lads to play maybe. Of course you need the spine of the team but when you play away it could be a dodgy pitch and it only takes one mistake and you can be a goal down after ten minutes.

"You have to be careful, but let's be honest, whatever team we play we should be comfortable with a three-nil lead. As the game went on at the Cottage we should have scored more goals and wrapped it up.

"It will be my first trip to the Faroe Islands and another one to tick off the list. I've been to a few countries in my time."

Despite the early start to the season, Murphy is pleased to be involved in the competition.

"It's a positive that we've got the opportunity to play in Europe again," he added. "Not everybody is used to doing it so it's going to be a test, but you've got to look at the positives, and the run of two years ago will live long in the memory of everybody associated with Fulham Football Club, so why not go on a good run again?

"In July you're playing friendly matches anyway, trying to get fit, so if anything we'll be ahead of schedule. We might have some tired legs at the end of the season but then it's down to the Manager to rotate players.

"Last time we did it we put ourselves in a safe position fairly early on and we were never in any trouble. The problems come if you're trying to fight a relegation battle whilst playing European games.

"Let's hope we're not in that position. The squad is as healthy as it's ever been in terms of quality. We are lacking a few numbers and I'm sure that will be addressed."

Jol is assessing his squad, but players are also sizing up their third manager in as many seasons.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said: "He's [Jol] been good, he's obviously got a lot of experience in the game and he's held some very big coaching positions over the last couple of years. He's a big personality, he's slotted in very easily and the players have responded really well. He has the utmost respect from all the players."

Strategy: Fulham will be looking to control the pace of the game and play possession football. Jol has insisted there will be an emphasis on attacking when he is in charge.

Injury Update: Clint Dempsey and Carlos Salcido are resting after international duty, at the Copa America in Argentina, while Moussa Dembele is out with an ankle injury.

Pauli Poulsen, the NSI coach, admits it is the biggest game many of players have been involved in and he is hoping their will seize their chance to impress.

"Of course the players will be thinking about this, because it is by far the biggest match many have experienced," he said.

Source Mike McGrath at FanHouse
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