Cottagers still have Johnson on treatment table

August 22, 2008

Fulham striker Andrew Johnson will miss two more matches before making his club debut against Bolton in three weeks.

Johnson is still undergoing treatment on the left thigh strain sustained before his £10.5million move from Everton.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is taking no risks over his comeback and the 26-year-old will sit out tomorrow's clash with Arsenal.

'Andy's injury has improved immensely and he's quite close to full fitness. Clinically he's very close,' said Hodgson. 'Due to the transfer taking a long time and Everton not using him in pre-season out of fear he might become injured, he hasn't had much chance to get match fit.

'The chances are that we will use the three-week period we have between Arsenal and Bolton to make sure we get him in tip-top condition. I'm very concerned that the season has just begun and there are 38 matches to be played.

'It's important for me to have Andy up, running and fit for most of those matches. I don't want to throw him in early because it's the tempting thing to do.

'As often happens with these type of injuries, the player gets back and there's a slight recurrence and he misses another couple of weeks. The season becomes very bitty and that would be a major error for the player and the club.'

Steven Davis has made last season's loan deal at Rangers permanent after completing his transfer to Ibrox yesterday and Hodgson has set his sights on a different type of replacement.

'I'm looking for another style of midfielder - a more defensive one who is strong and tall,' he said. 'There is a space in the squad with Steven going. The ones who haven't been regulars here have been leaving so the group is getting smaller.'