Fulham V West Brom at Craven Cottage - Match Preview

Jol sees significance of contest

Fulham may have only played three Barclays Premier League games so far this season but manager Martin Jol believes Saturday's clash with West Brom is almost in the 'must-win' category.

A win at Sunderland on the opening day has been followed by a home defeat to Arsenal and a 1-0 loss at Newcastle, meaning the Cottagers have three points going into the match.

Although Steve Clarke's side sit bottom of the table having collected just one point, Jol believes his team need to register more points with games against Chelsea and Everton on the horizon.

"I see it as an almost must-win game," he said. "It is for them as well. If we win then we will be fine, if not there are teams around us and it's important to get out of the bottom."

Darren Bent will miss out due to a tight hamstring.

The striker, on loan from Aston Villa, made his Fulham debut in the club's 1-0 defeat at Newcastle and Jol is hopeful he will be back in training next week.

Defenders Matthew Briggs (hip) and Aaron Hughes (thigh) have also joined goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (shoulder) on the sidelines but Kieran Richardson returns to the squad following a hamstring problem.

Clarke may field some of his transfer deadline day signings

Albion have only taken one point from their three matches so far but have since acquired Stephane Sessegnon, Victor Anichebe and Morgan Amalfitano.

The game may come too soon for Anichebe, who lacks match fitness, but fellow forward Sessegnon and midfielder Amalfitano have a good chance of starting.

Midfielder James Morrison (groin) is a doubt while goalkeeper Ben Foster (foot) and striker Matej Vydra (hamstring) are definitely missing. Steven Reid, Zoltan Gera and George Thorne are still working their way back to full fitness.

Albion sit at the foot of the table after taking a solitary point from their opening three games.

While that is in stark contrast to their bright start to last season - when they had seven points at this stage - Clarke is certainly not panicking.

"Are we bottom? I didn't know. I don't look at the table at this stage. It doesn't matter," he said.

"After three games it is too quick to be looking. There's a league table shown after one game. Why? It's what happens at the end, not where we are in September.

"Last September we were probably a lot closer to the top than we are now and I said then that the table didn't matter."

Source: PA

Source: PA