Coleman eager for Queudrue to pass fitness test

December 18, 2006

Fulham manager Chris Coleman is anxious that former Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue will be passed fit to face his former club at Craven Cottage tonight.

The 28-year-old Frenchman is keen to play against old team-mates for the first time in his career but Coleman has a more pressing reason to rush him back following his badly-gashed shin.

Queudrue's return will enable the Fulham boss, whose squad has been decimated by injuries, to revert to the strategy which propelled Fulham to seventh place in the Premiership earlier in the season.

With skipper Luis Boa Morte and Senegalese midfielder Papa Bouba Diop joining long-term casualties Jimmy Bullard and Mark Pembridge in the treatment room, Coleman is anxious to push right-back Moritz Volz into midfield again.

But to do that he needs Queudrue back from the injury he sustained against Reading so he can switch England Under-21 player Liam Rosenior from the left to the right side of his defence.

'It's touch and go. It was a really bad deep gash but he's a tough lad, Franck,' Coleman said. 'He's 50-50 at the moment, 60-40 with a bit of luck, but we might not have any choice. He might have to play with a couple of shin pads on one leg.'

Queudrue is desperate to play but insists he has no animosity against Middlesbrough, who let him go last summer.

'It would be the first time I have played against an old club so I hope it will be good,' he told the club's official website. 'I had five good years there.

'I have lots of good memories of the fans, the players, the staff and everybody. So it's a big game for me, like it is for anyone who plays against their old club, it will have a different flavour.'

He stressed: 'We parted on good terms. I can't see the point in having a battle, you have to keep in mind it's only football.

'If you're fighting all the time with your team-mates or people at the club, you won't really enjoy your time. I was on good terms with everybody. I wish them all the best - but not tomorrow of course.'

Fulham, who also rate goalkeeper Antti Niemi 50-50 for a return after knee cartilage surgery, have slumped to 15th in the table after losing four of their last five matches.

Another defeat will see a further fall, with Middlesbrough moving above them, and Queudrue admitted: 'The pressure will be on us because we are at home.

'Both sides have quality players, we've got some injuries to key players and might have to play some people out of position so it will be a tricky game.'