London: Fulham manager Roy Hodgson will have to wait until the day of the game to find out if he can field chief striker Bobby Zamora in the Europa League semi-final second leg against Hamburg SV on Thursday.
Zamora has scored 19 goals this season, including strikes in both legs of the quarter-final victory over German champions VfL Wolfsburg, but has been struggling with an Achilles problem and limped off in the first leg in Hamburg.
"He's much improved, he's done some work today with the physios," Hodgson said ahead of the second leg, which follows a goalless draw in Hamburg last week.
"He'll have treatment again tomorrow and will again perform for the medical sports science people. I think I shall know quite clearly whether he's got a chance of playing or not by lunchtime."
Fulham, who had a light session at the Motspur Park training ground on Wednesday, desperately need Zamora back if their finest hour in Europe is to lead to an even finer one on May 12 against Liverpool or Atletico Madrid in the final in Hamburg.
Hamburg are under new management, having sacked coach Bruno Labbadia since the first leg, but Hodgson shrugged off any possible advantage.
"It's late in the season, they've played many games together, the assistant coach has stepped into the breach so there's no vast change of management style or philosophy," he said. "So I'm expecting the same type of Hamburg that we met in the first leg a week ago."
Fulham have been living a true Cinderella story. The club, languishing in the lowest reaches of the English leagues only 13 years ago, are now walking tall having beaten Juventus as well as Wolfsburg on their way to the semi-finals.
Asked how intimidating Hamburg would find Craven Cottage, a homely and historic ground overlooking the River Thames, the thoughtful former Inter Milan and Swiss national coach almost shuddered at the thought.
"I didn't know we ever had a reputation for intimidation," said Hodgson, surveying the barrage of cameras in a cramped room struggling to cater for an ever-increasing media presence.
"I think we've got quite a thinking crowd...a crowd that appreciates good football and how well the team has done for them.”
"We will have great support and people will be behind us every step of the way but to intimidate you've got to have a much bigger stadium and more aggressive crowd than we have. I'm not even certain that I want that."
First Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010, 09:35