Fulham vs Swansea City preview - Swans catch Jol's eye

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Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 by PA

Fulham manager Martin Jol is full of admiration for Saturday's opponents Swansea and counterpart Brendan Rodgers.

Fulham vs Swansea City preview - Swans catch Jol's eye

The Welsh outfit have been a revelation since their promotion to the Premier League thanks to their possession football and exquisite passing game.

Swansea's profile rose further last weekend with their defeat of title-chasing Manchester City - a result which propelled them to 11th in the table.

The Jacks now enjoy a 14-point cushion over the drop zone and Jol believes that is no less than they deserve.

"There are a few clubs in England that use that style of play, like Arsenal play and Wigan most of the time," the Dutchman said.

"Manchester United in a way also use it so a lot of teams in England have changed their culture and they almost play like Ajax or Barcelona.

"Swansea always try to play. They play it out from the back and the keeper is almost like a 12th player so you could honestly say that I admire them for that.

"Brendan Rodgers is someone who has got that philosophy, which is different and is why I rate him very highly because it is not easy.

"Brendan will be one of the candidates for manager of the year.

"If you get promotion and then, like Norwich, establish yourself in the Barclays Premier League then you have done a hell of a job."

While Swansea have rightfully taken a lot of the plaudits this season, Fulham go into the match a place ahead of them in the standings.

The Cottagers have impressed recently but come into the match on the back of a last-gasp defeat at Aston Villa.

"Hopefully they will respond well," Jol said. "It is not that we're not used to that as we have not won (enough) away games anyway.

"We had a good run of five or six draws, two wins and it is not bad but it is not good enough to push for a fantastic place.

"I think we are safe from relegation as we have had a very good run over the past couple of months.

"We are not there yet so we would like more points."

Fulham will be boosted by the return of Aaron Hughes after a calf complaint saw him miss the trip to Villa Park.

However, Steve Sidwell (hernia) and Orlando Sa (hamstring) both miss out and face up to four weeks on the sidelines.

Zdenek Grygera will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

Swansea have no fresh concerns but will again be without winger Nathan Dyer through suspension.

Andrea Orlandi is back in training after a hamstring tear, while Kemy Agustien is likely to miss the rest of the season after ankle surgery.

Swans defender Steven Caulker believes last Sunday's defeat of title-chasing Manchester City could spur them on to a third successive victory at Fulham.

Roberto Mancini's side saw their Premier League title aspirations dealt a major blow as Luke Moore's late header saw the Welsh outfit once again upset one of the top-flight big guns at the Liberty Stadium.

While still pleased with the result, Caulker says the players have now moved on and are prepared for a tough challenge at Craven Cottage.

"Obviously the boys have been delighted to beat a side that was then top of the table," he told Swans Player.

"It has been a good week since then. It is only right to celebrate the win and enjoy it so it has been a nice few days.

"I think we have matured massively as a team and have been in good form over the last two weeks.

"We have had two wins and two clean sheets so we go to Fulham with a lot of confidence and hoping to do the same.

"I think Wigan was a massive win table-wise and points-wise, but to get a clean sheet against Man City on Sunday, especially with their strike force and their talent on show, was close to a dream.

"The boys have done fantastically. We have had a good few days enjoying the praise and now it is back to normal."

Caulker has been a revelation since arriving at the Liberty Stadium on a season-long loan from Tottenham.

The 20-year-old has excelled in his 17 appearances so far but was coy when asked about what the future has in store.

"For me, there are 10 games to go and my aim is to play as many games as possible and just play well," he said.

"Next season I want to be playing regularly, but that's something that will be decided in the summer and we will sit down and talk."

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