With deadline day coming and going, many Fulham fans are wondering how close we are now to having a side capable of taking us forward?
Unsurprisingly many have been quick to jump on the “Kit Out” bandwagon following a less then perfect start to the season, but at the same time I did feel the unfortunate injury to on-loan Luke Garbutt was a bigger factor then many had made out.
In securing the young prospect from Everton, Symons had added yet another impressive acquisition to the squad, only for injury to deny us from having him available for the opening games. While Burn, Bodurov and Hutchison all have their faults, I was always of the opinion that some consistency in our centre-half berths alongside two solid full-backs would see a vast improvement on last season’s shambles at the back. Unfortunately Vosser is, in my opinion, by no means a “decent full-back” and while he wasn’t the only factor in some woeful defensive displays, the immediate impact James Husband had was there for all to be seen on Saturday. With the addition of Stearman from Wolves and the addition of Ryan Fredericks, following a very very brief spell with Bristol City, it may still be a number of weeks before we finally settle on a back four, but at the very least we now seem to have some quality in depth across the backline.
Having been a problem area for a number of years it seems rather ironic that this is the first transfer window where the question of midfielders has hardly been mentioned. Arguably there is still a lack of wide options in the squad, but with the success of O’Hara, development of Cairney and with LVC and Parker to return, we seem to have a good core to select from. The Ben Pringle we saw on Saturday was a much improved showing compared to what we had seen at home to Brighton, while Kacaniklic may finally benefit from playing in front of a left-back who he can build an understanding with.
As for our forward line, McCormack is far from finding his best form although the lack of a need to drop deep, as he did for so much last season means it may take a little longer for the Scot to find his role in the new side. Dembele, while by no means the finished article, seems to have really worked on his hold-up play over the summer and given more game time could finally deliver on the potential that most of us have known about for a while. Woodrow has successfully come off the bench to score twice this term already and an element of competititon for places can only be beneficial to the club.
Obviously results will ultimately dictate the continued pressure around Symons but nobody can argue that he, alongside Mike Rigg, have been successful in attracting some very good players to our squad over the summer and that we now seem to have all of the pieces of the puzzle to make a solid leap forward this season, if not for a play-off place then certainly with view to building for a challenge next term. The international break should give us time to fully assess our strongest starting XI and build off the back of our first win from the weekend.